Penguin Random House has shared an excerpt from An Unquiet Place by Clare Houston.
An Unquiet Place unearths a counterweight to sadness: that love and kindness can bolster our resilience as we look for ways to soothe the past.
About the book
Hannah Harrison escapes her stalled life in Cape Town for a small-town bookshop in the Free State. A concentration-camp journal from the South African War, found in a dusty box of old stock, reveals the life of Rachel Badenhorst, a young girl separated from her family and enduring the crushing hardship of war. Hannah becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Rachel.
Coveting the young girl’s courage and endurance, she is compelled to uncover Rachel’s story, never thinking it will lead her to pick open the wounds of a local farmer and dig up old tragedies, unearthing grief that even the land has held on to for over a century.
About the author
Clare grew up in Pietermaritzburg, an historically Victorian town which has become a vibrant African city in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. She trained as a teacher and went on to teach in London, Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town and Polokwane. During this time she studied further and read an honours degree in Educational Linguistics from UKZN and then a masters degree in Applied Language Studies from UCT.
Clare is married to Peter, an Anglican minister, and has two children. She has been a passionate reader and writer since childhood but began writing full time when her daughter was born. Her first children’s book, The Magic Bat, was the winner of the Maskew Miller Longman 2017 Literature Award for English fiction.
She currently lives in Kloof, near Durban, and is keeping up with a busy family, an impossible garden and numerous, rather crooked, crochet projects.
Read an excerpt from An Unquiet Place:
High on the plateau, evening crept across the sky. Swallows pitched and swung through the air, and a small breeze lifted the grasses, sending a ripple across the surface of the reservoir. The breeze shivered through the grey leaves of the old gums, and gently picked up the skirts of a woman carrying buckets across the flat ground. A fabric kappie hid her hair, its floppy brim obscuring her face. Her tattered skirts brushed the tops of buttoned boots, their soles gaping with each step. The tin buckets were heavy. The handles cut into her blistered hands, causing her to wince as she walked, her bony shoulders taking the strain.
On the slope below the plateau, Alistair’s herd of blesbok looked up from their grazing and the male snorted a warning. The woman placed her buckets on the ground, side by side. Bending low, as if ducking through a low door, she disappeared.