Jake Whyte is a young woman working alone on a sheep farm, keeping to herself, harbouring a secretive past, and feeling terrified all the time. I’m not even sure if she knows what she’s afraid of, besides her past coming back to haunt her, or of getting too close to another human being. But, terrified she is. You can feel the tension in every word of the text.
The house was still. Dog stood by the closed door, looking at the space underneath, his hackles up and his legs straight and stiff, his tail rigid, pointing down. And then one creak, on the ceiling, like someone walked there. I held my breath and listened past the blood thumping in my ears. It was quiet and I pulled the covers up under my chin. The sheets chafed loudly against themselves. Dog stayed fixed on the door. A small growl escaped him.
I collected all the knives I could find into a roasting tin, and on second thought, the carving fork too, and took them up to bed with me. I turned off the light and pulled a stool to the window and propped the gun up next to it. I sat and waited for my eyes to get used to the dark and I watched the door of the shed with a mug of whisky in my hand.
Jake’s sheep are being attacked by someone or something. Then, a strange man shows up on her farm. Who is he and what is he doing there? Where is all her fear coming from? How is she going to learn to move on?
It could have been the air, the wind. It could have been that out there in the dark, all of my sheep had turned to stare at me. Or that something pulled itself out of the sea and lumbered up the path towards me. But it wasn’t. It was only the night like I’d seen it a thousand times before, alone.
Jake has come to this isolated British island to get away from her past. Alternating with Jake’s present life are flashbacks of her past, starting with her most recent memories, working back until we learn about the shocking events of her earlier life in Australia. I thought I could guess what was coming, but I really could not.
All The Birds, Singing was an engrossing read that I didn’t want to put down. And, the writing is beautiful. I highly recommend it if you are in the mood for something dark and foreboding.
This book has so many great covers. Which ones do you like best?