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Zenna Dare

Imagine discovering a family secret from the past. Would you tell?

When Jenefer moves to the old family home in country Kapunda, she uncovers a secret from the past. What sort of life did Gweniver, her great-great-great-grandmother, lead? And what connection did she have with the stage singer Zenna Dare?

Themes: cultural identity, moving to country, blended family, Year 12, Cornish culture & folklore, family history, prejudice, racism, reconciliation

Award: Shortlisted in the Caleb Award for YA literature 2015 

Published 2014, 2nd edn

Rhiza Press


Previously published by Lothian Books, 2002

This book is available in other formats: Large Print, Dyslexic, Daisy or Braille at Read How You Want. Click the Other Formats button to purchase.

What people are saying

This accomplished novel parallels a 19th century and a contemporary love story, and canvases racism, reconciliation and the power of forgiveness. Jenefer resents being relocated to her family's ancestral home at Kapunda, but her imagination is caught by a model cottage that houses all the elements of a family mystery, and her heart by Caleb, a poised, perceptive Aboriginal classmate. This richly textured tale of family relationships and changing morality across two centuries is both enthralling and thought-provoking.
       Katherine England, Advertiser, Sept 14, 2002

Zenna Dare is an accomplished study of reconciliation across generations.
       Fran Knight

So who is Zenna Dare? Read the novel for yourself. You won't be disappointed.
       Fiction Focus


Excerpt from an article about Zenna Dare by Katharine England
…With Zenna Dare, Hawke has found a relaxed, natural voice and a suppleness of line which allows the reader to take the prose vehicle for granted and simply enjoy the company of a cast of engaging and well-drawn characters as they explore family history and learn more about themselves, the world and each other.
      What Hawke is doing in microcosm in this engaging and thoughtful teenage approach to reconciliation is much the same as Alex miller has done on a larger canvas in his Miles Franklin Award winning 'Journey to the Stone Country'. It is a great shame that through miscalculation or misadventure of one kind or another Zenna Dare was not able to be considered in its comparable youth literature competition, the Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year Awards.
        Viewpoint 11 (3) Spring 2003 p.38-39

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