Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Turtle Reef by Jennifer Scoullar

Title: Turtle Reef
Author: Jennifer Scoullar
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: 25th March 2015
Pages: 304
Book Source: Penguin Aust & NetGalley

Synopsis: Unlucky-in-love zoologist Zoe King has given up on men. Moving from Sydney to take up an exciting new role in marine science in the small sugar town of Kiawa is a welcome fresh start. Zoe is immediately charmed by the region's beauty – by its rivers and rainforests, and by its vast cane fields, sweeping from the foothills down to the rocky coral coast. And also by its people – its farmers and fishermen, unhurried and down to earth, proud of their traditions.

Her work at the Reef Centre provides all the passion she needs and Zoe finds a friend in Bridget, the centre’s director. The last thing she wants is to fall for her boss’s boyfriend, cane king Quinn Cooper, so she refuses to acknowledge the attraction between them – even to herself. But things aren’t quite adding up at the Reef Centre and when animals on the reef begin to sicken and die, Zoe’s personal and professional worlds collide. She faces a terrible choice. Will protecting the reef mean betraying the man she loves?

My Thoughts: 
I fell in love with Jennifer Scoullar's writing after inhaling Currawong Creek in 2013 and Billabong Bend in 2014, she has a beautiful way with words and her love for the natural world sings.

The beauty and diversity of the region, rainforest to reef, the sugar cane fields and hand-in-hand, the challenges of protecting our reef and marine animals from ignorance, age-old traditions, outdated and often dangerous farming practices. I'm passionate about reef protection so you might have guessed I was cheering Zoe on for actively driving the wheels of change. 

Turtle Reef has an interesting bunch of characters, an intriguing mystery, a splash of romance (but the circumstances surrounding it are just a tad weird) but for me, the stars  of the show were the animals. 

I liked Zoe and Quinn's younger brother Josh and his special affinity with animals was particularly endearing but I loved the dolphins, especially Kane, Echo and Mirrhi, the turtles, Einstein the hammer octopus and the Arabian mare Aisha. I loved learning about the female octopus, seagrass mapping and the principles of operant conditioning and and I got teary over the dugong and Einstein ... animals undo me. 

Turtle Reef was a particularly special read for me, Kiawa and the Reef Centre bringing with it nostalgic memories of my visits to Bargara and Mon Repos Conservation Centre and more recently Lady Elliot Island (southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef) the highly protected "green zone" sanctuary for marine and other wildlife. 

I wonder where Jennifer Scoullar is taking us next? ... can't wait!

 turtle hatchlings - Lady Elliot Island

Connect with Jennifer Scoullar

Purchase Turtle Reef
@Penguin Aust


  1. I haven't read anything by this author although she has come onto my radar, thanks to the Aussie bloggers! Sounds like a worthwhile read and I love it when animals are included.

    1. The other two are fabulous too Kathryn, I'm sure you'd love them.

  2. thanks for the review. New author for me.

    1. Hope you can get your hands on a copy Mystica, maybe when you're back in Australia or kindle :)

  3. Ohhhhh this sounds good!! Will have to check this author out!!!!!!

    1. Yay hope you do Julie, I love her style and passion for the environment and our beautiful animals!

  4. This sounds like a really great book. I'm adding it to my wishlist, plus I really loved Australia and think I should read some more books based in that part of the world to relive my trip in 2004.

    Love the photos!!!


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