7 /10

The Serpent’s Skin

by Erina Reddan

Snappy Review

The secrets hidden from you when you’re a child can have unforeseen consequences on what you imagine it could be. An excellent exploration of  keeping face in a small town.

Book Synopsis

An extraordinary novel about overcoming male power, the strength of sibling bonds and the secrets that can haunt a family. Most of all, The Serpent’s Skin is about the many ways we prove our love.

It’s a cold and wintery night in 1968 and ten-year-old JJ’s mother isn’t home. The cows are milked, the pigs fed, and her dad won’t answer any questions.

Sarah is the lifeblood of their family, and her absence throws everyone off course: Tessa takes charge, Tim gets in trouble, Philly retreats, and JJ blames herself. Their father works hard to keep up appearances, but something’s not right. It’s always been JJ’s job to cause trouble, and when she can’t leave the clues alone, her sleuthing wreaks havoc in their tight-knit community, and she swears off troublemaking for good.

Fourteen years on, JJ has a new life, a loving partner and a good job. But she puts it all in jeopardy when she stumbles across a chance to solve the dark mystery of her childhood. While pretending to have made peace with it, she organises a final farewell for her mother so they can all put the past behind them. Will the explosive truth finally set them free?

Compulsive, gripping and full of heart, The Serpent’s Skin ushers in Erina Reddan as a brilliant new voice in Australian fiction.