Longlisted for the Voss Literary Prize 2017
'Skylarking is a beautifully-written love letter to female friendship, full of the passion, envy and confusion of growing up and growing apart' -- Kate Riordan
Kate and Harriet are best friends growing up together on an isolated Australian cape. As the daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community.
When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. An innocent moment in McPhail's hut then occurs that threatens to tear their peaceful community apart.
Inspired by a true story, Skylarking is a spellbinding tale of friendship and desire, memory and truth, which questions what it is to remember and how tempting it can be to forget.
What Reviewers and Readers Say:
`It's testament to Kate Mildenhall's skill that you become so immersed in the lives of best friends Kate and Harriet you feel the dread, but hope it will not be so ... fans of Emily Bitto's The Strays and Favel Parrett's Past the Shallows will find much to admire here.' Herald Sun
`[Mildenhall's] research of life on a remote cape in a young colony manifests in lovingly drawn descriptions of the natural landscape... the novel's strength lies with following Kate's and Harriet's stumbles and skylarking from childhood to womanhood; and their close, sometimes stifling, friendship.' Thuy On, Sydney Morning Herald
`It is hard to believe that Skylarking is Kate Mildenhall's debut novel, as her ability to create both character and atmosphere is impressive.'Annie Condon, Readings Monthly
`It's no surprise to learn that debut author Kate Mildenhall counts Geraldine Brooks and Hannah Kent among her favourite writers. Inspired by a true story, Skylarking recreates a particular time and place as evocatively as they do...this is a beautifully written book, with lyrical descriptions of the desolate yet beautiful landscape.' AFR Magazine
`Mildenhall is at her best when she is exploring the complex relationship between these two young women as their burgeoning sexuality begins to cause problems within their tiny community.' Books + Publishing
`Kate Mildenhall's impressive debut novel is filled with the light and air of its rugged coastal setting ... the perfect backdrop for Mildenhall's powerful evocation of a passionate, intense relationship between two young women ... Mildenhall takes this historical case and re-imagines it with such sensitivity and insight that we feel this must be how it truly happened.' Emily Bitto, author of The Strays
`The storm-lashed coastline of the Great Southern Land is the setting for this poetic, slow-moving tale of the friendship ... an evocative yarn.' Australian Women's Weekly
`Skylarking is a strikingly real and deeply moving meditation on adolescent friendship in all its complexities, faithfully rendering both teenage envy and the depths of love between two girls. The bush comes alive; one can almost hear the sound of the crickets on a hot evening. But above all, it is a heart-wrenching work.' Olga Lorenzo, author of Salt Creek
`Author Kate Mildenhall evocatively brings to the mind's eye the lives of two young girls in Victorian-era Australia.' Better Reading
`Skylarking is a brave, beautiful and richly textured book which delicately explores the fault lines in love and friendship, revealing their thrill and loveliness as well as their darker sides: jealousy and heartbreaking regret' Lucy Treloar, author of The Light on the Water
A quietly assured piece of writing ... vividly told. -- Guinevere Glasfurd-Brown, author of the Words in My Hands ...[A] stunning debut by an author who has actually thought about life in the circumstances which existed so long ago. -- Joules Barham There is a simplicity to this book which makes it an easy and enjoyable read. -- J.A. Warnock I've found myself thinking of the characters and the places in the days since I finished reading, which is, for me at least, the sign of a good read. -- Luke Marlowe The title, Skylarking, is an inspired choice. It evokes the exhilaration of the novel's setting, flying high and free above the rocky shore, the word's poignancy only becoming apparent towards the end. A debut novel and there is much to admire in her writing. I look forward to seeing what she tackles next. -- Sue Broom Kate Mildenhall captures the ebbs and flows of coastal life by evoking the bewitching beauty of the sea... -- Rich Jones The most powerful part of this novel was the description of the area. The isolation, the danger of the sea and what it must have been like for the people who lived there. This is Kate's debut novel and I certainly can't wait to read more! ...[I]t packs a real punch, with characters and a dramatic plot twist that are totally unforgettable. -- Cheryl Pasquier