The Wattle Island Book Club

· Sold by Penguin Group Australia
3 reviews

About this ebook

Is it ever too late to rewrite your own story?


In 1950, teenager Anne flees Wattle Island for the big city, where she learns that establishing the life she's always dreamed of isn’t as easy as she thought. When a secret she’s been keeping is discovered, she has no choice but to retreat home and live a quiet life. But when tragedy strikes, establishing the Wattle Island book club is the only thing that offers her solace.


In 2018, spirited librarian Grace has been writing bucket lists since she was a child, and is ticking off as many challenges as she can now that life has handed her a hefty dose of perspective. Heading to Wattle Island on one of her adventures, she is determined to uncover a long-held mystery surrounding the town’s historic book club, unlocking a buried truth that has been trapped between the dusty pages of secrecy for years.


All too aware of how fragile life is, Anne and Grace must come together to help the residents of Wattle Island find the bravery to move beyond the trauma that tore the book club apart. Budding relationships offer new hope, along with a library project for the town’s future – but it will take more than a few lively literary debates to break the silence and heal the past.

Welcome to the Wattle Island Book Club, where some chapters may end, but others are just beginning...

Ratings and reviews

3 reviews
Marianne Vincent
August 22, 2021
The Wattle Island Book Club is the fourth novel by Australian author, Sandie Docker. Now in her eighties, Anne Sato has lived most of her life on Wattle Island. Her decision to restart the Wattle Island Book Club will, she is sure, meet with criticism, but it is born of a desire heal the hurting that ensued after their last meeting, seven years earlier. Her deepest desire is for her grandson to begin properly living again before she departs this life. Anne’s call to the Port Maddison Regional Library is taken by Grace Elliott, who expertly manages the many clubs for which the library caters; she efficiently sends out a tub of books on the supply ship. When, on her follow up with Anne, the reaction is somewhat equivocal, Grace proposes attending their next meeting to facilitate. A visit to an island will fit nicely into the bucket lists that Grace is determinedly attempting to tick off. As an artist, Anne finds her go-to for relaxation and de-stressing is to paint, but lately her imagination takes her to long-ago memories: when thirteen-year-old Anne Webb arrives on Wattle Island in 1947 to live with an aunt she’s never met, she’s clutching the one book she managed to grab from her mother’s bookshelf: Anne of Green Gables. There are no books in Aunt Bess’s spartan little cottage, nor does the island school’s library boast an extensive range. Anne is grateful when Jeremiah Allen, the deckhand on the Seafarer, agrees to bring books from the mainland library to feed the voracious reading appetite that is her parents’ legacy. It’s not something other islanders of her age share. It sets her apart, as does her befriending of the new deckhand, Tadashi, whose love of literature matches her own. But what she wants most is to return to the city. Grace is completely enchanted by Wattle Island and its residents, a little destabilised by Anne’s gorgeous, brooding grandson but eagerly anticipating the book club gathering. Solving a mystery has been on Grace’s bucket lists ever since she was seven, and she can’t help being drawn in to the mystery surrounding the seven-year hiatus in the Wattle Island Book Club’s gatherings: an empty book shop, and a pervasive sadness amongst the townspeople. But it’s clear from the reactions of some that her interest is not entirely welcome… This is a wonderfully romantic story that champions libraries and reading, and it is difficult not to fall in love with these characters from the outset, and become invested in their fates. Docker easily captures both the island’s village atmosphere and the post-war mindset of the Australian public: the rampant sexism, xenophobia and homophobia characteristic of the era. Her descriptions of the art and sculpture will have readers craving a peek into the studios, and she gives her characters some wise words and insightful observations: “Life was what it was. Always had been. No one was in control, despite the human race being rather adept at fooling itself into believing it was” and “We can’t move on from our scars. They are part of who we are. It’s only when we accept that, that we can be whole again” are examples. From Sandie Docker the reader is always guaranteed a superb Australian-flavoured feel-good read. This unbiased review is from a copy provided by the author.
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Third-party review
The Wattle Island Book Club, the fourth book from Australian author Sandie Docker, is a bittersweet story about love, loss, courage, passion and hope. Seven years after the last meeting of the book ...

About the author

Sandie Docker grew up in Coffs Harbour, and first fell in love with reading when her father introduced her to fantasy books as a teenager. Her love of fiction began when she first read Jane Austen for the HSC, but it wasn't until she was taking a translation course at university that her Mandarin lecturer suggested she might have a knack for writing – a seed of an idea that sat quietly in the back of her mind while she lived overseas and travelled the world. Sandie first decided to put pen to paper (yes, she writes everything the old-fashioned way before hitting a keyboard) when living in London. Now back in Sydney with her husband and daughter, she writes every day.

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