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George Hamilton
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Historical Fiction
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Book Description

Snatched from her family during the 1960s, Margaret, a headstrong Aboriginal girl, is fostered by the McDonalds, in the Australian outback, under the government sponsored assimilation policies. She stubbornly fights to maintain her culture until she can escape or her real parents find her. But soon she discovers that she is growing to like many of the customs and material possessions of her captors, throwing her into an identity crisis, which rips another fault line through her world.

By the time she grows into a beautiful young woman, she has already suffered the disappointments of unrequited love and a forbidden desire. Encouraged to hide behind the identity of a Southern European, the highly charged political environment of the time, and her love for a political activist, forces her to confront her true identity.

Editorial Reviews


'Harrowing, beautiful and thought-provoking, Secrets From the Dust is an impressive novel from George Hamilton. With its shocking conclusion it deserves an audience...'
--Shelleyrae -

'This book was very hard to put down once I got started reading... This book is very well written and the characters are so easy to become connected with.I feel like this book will be enjoyed by many.'
--Lynn - and

'Secrets From The Dust is a well written book which pulls at the heartstrings... Thoroughly enjoyable read would recommend it to my friends.'
--Rosemary -

'Secrets from the Dust more than lived up to my expectations... the story has encouraged me to search for other stories of Australia...'
--Gretchen -

'The characters in this story all form a connection with the reader. You don't just read this book, you live it, and that is due to the amazing writing of George Hamilton...'

About the Author

George Hamilton studied at the University of East London, majoring in development economics. He likes to know what's going on around the world, to delve into the customs and practices of different cultures, and this led him to Australia during 2002, where he spent several months researching Koori (Aboriginal) culture at the Koori Centre, University of Sydney, amongst other places. Some of that work is reflected in his novel Secrets From The Dust, which has been compared to The Poisonwood Bible, and will spark many interesting discussions for reading groups and students of English literature. He currently lives in London, England.

Product Details

  • File Size: 729 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Browsing Rhino (October 7, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0046A9V7I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #287,246 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Language, Ugly Truth - Unforgettable! April 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book made me profoundly sad, dealing with an atrocious period in Australian history where native children were stolen from their parents to be forcibly assimilated. The first and last time we see the high spirited Snake-woman-child in her natural self ended with her kidnapping in the first scene.

They named her Margaret, erased her past and tried to transplant her into a world that did not accept her. They stripped her identity, maligned her parents, and replaced her affections to their ways. They told her she was not Koori (or Aborigine), but Southern European.

You'll love Margaret, and root for her, and cheer her on, hoping and praying she'd be rescued, or reunited with her parents, but alas, there came a day when she no longer knew who she was. How many times could she metamorphosize? How many skins could she shed? The author's descriptions of Margaret's surroundings, the natural beauty and harshness of the Australian landscape, evokes your deepest emotions, using sight, sounds, smell, taste and intuition. Haunting and mesmerizing, this is a story you won't forget.

If you read no other book this year, make sure to read Secrets From the Dust. It will change you and make you conscious against suppressing the spirit of life and to be in touch with your true self.

"Will they accept me if I just let them out and be me, whatever that is, because I'm not sure I even know anymore?" -Margaret/Ningali
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secrets from the Dust June 5, 2011
from Murphy's Library

This story is set in Australia, but could be any country that has a large amount of Aboriginal people. For decades the Australian government has forced those children into white culture, in what they called a try out for rehabilitation, a way to make children grow out the Aboriginals. The Stolen Generation is what it was called. But they've forgotten one thing: nobody can change the blood that runs in our veins.

Secrets from the Dust is centered in a child forced away from her birth parents and placed with white ones. She is obviously different and this is what makes this book so wonderful to read.

I live in Brazil and we have lots of different cultures going on here, so it is very touching to read about Margaret, even though she was a lucky one. She was treated right when several children from this time were just servants, insignificants individuals that weren't cared for.

The characteres in this story all form a connection with the reader. You don't just read this book, you live it, and that is due to the amazing writing of George Hamilton. In a world so torn by racism and discrimination, this is an eye opener book that should be read by lots of people as a way to put some sense on them. Maybe with fictional characters suffering people can understand what real people suffer every day with violence against races. It's sad that even a book from the old times is still so atual.

I really liked as the narrative goes, but there are some paragraphs that could've been constructed differently to catch more attention, because I find them to long or too descriptive. Overall, this is a great book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
When a friend referred this novel to me, I promptly added it to my TBR list and the author was kind enough to send me a free copy for review purpose. Since this particular friend of mine doesn't recommend books lightly, I picked up this novel with the expectation of a couple of hours of enjoyable read at the least. But I got much more than just a couple of hours of well invested time. This novel left me speechless... and let me tell you, that doesn't happen very often.

The story revolves around Margaret, an Aboriginal girl with the plot being set in the 1960's. At a very young age, Margaret was `taken' from her home and family and first placed in a government school, then with a foster family. With her own identity, family and culture stripped away from her, Margaret is taught to be like a Southern European. But she isn't an ordinary girl who can be subdued and dominated easily. She is stubborn and strong-willed. Over the years she struggles with her true identity and confusion, yet she refuses to give in to the society... This is essentially Margaret's story.

I LOVED Margaret. I smiled and cried with her, I cheered her on, shared her dreams, sympathized with her and continuously wished her success. It was helluva ride to take, but living through all the ups and downs of Margaret's life was totally worth it. She has had a hard life yet her spirit was never broken, not even at the lowest point of her life. Anne, Sean and Liz have quite a presence in the novel and their lives are so deeply connected.

The plot is so amazingly deep yet handled in an expert manner. Through Margaret, and the people around her, the author has covered a wide array of social issues of the time - from racial tension to child labour to rape and violence.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating March 27, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Secrets from the Dust more than lived up to my expectations. After reading Shelleyrae's review I was intrigued. I know little about Australia and found the subject of the Aboriginal children fascinating. The plight of many of the children was similar to the plight of the children of the slaves in the United States. Torn from their families, they were considered inferior and forced into servitude. Forced to learn to assimilate into the white society, they were never accepted by the white society. I thought the writing improved noticeably as the story grew and it was impossible to put it down. Most characters were well developed, particularly Margaret, her adopted Mother, her natural Mother, and her Father. Less well developed was her adopted sister and some of the characters Margaret interacted with. As Shelleyrae stated, the end is shocking, and I am certainly not going to provide a spoiler. A book well worth reading. Although Hamilton is evidently not Australian himself, the story has encouraged me to search for other stories of Australia and particularly other stories by Australian authors.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A mind-blowing story!
Who doesn't know about that period of history in Australia when the government removed the Aboriginal children from their parents forcefully assimilated to work in the homes of... Read more
Published 4 months ago by ADITI SAHA
5.0 out of 5 stars Not yet read, will try to get back to this once read
Still have yet to read this as I have a bunch of books to get through. Will try to remember to revisit this review once read and write what I thought about it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by echogirl
5.0 out of 5 stars It's still worthy of reading for anyone who wants to better understand...
I give the story unqualified five stars for its importance and value in revealing the plight of half-caste children in Australia over the years. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Tim F. Merriman
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesing Story....
I wasn't sure I would like this book but gave it a try after reading other reviews. Very glad that I did. Read more
Published 12 months ago by G. M. Mason
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very enjoyable
I didn't care for any of the characters. They were not particularly interesting or insightful. The "lessons" about the Aborigines was very limited. Read more
Published 12 months ago by MotherChickie
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book
What an amazing story. I loved it from page one. Margarets journey through her life was emotiona. She tried so hard to become what they wanted.
Published 12 months ago by Ashley Renolds
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written
Thought it was a true story when I purchased the book, wasn't until the very end that I discovered it not to be....deeeeerh! ....The sign of a book well written?
Published 13 months ago by Brenda Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
I could not put the book down. I love the writer's language and his empathy and compassion for the culture and people of Australia. Read more
Published 13 months ago by annabella hall
4.0 out of 5 stars great story
I read this book for our monthly book
club. I would recommend it to my family and friends. It is very enlightening to read about other cultures.
Published 13 months ago by Patricia
3.0 out of 5 stars Secrets From The Dust
Fairly engaging. Addressed issues relevant to today's world as well as the 60's. Probably would recommend. Characters not particularly memorable.
Published 14 months ago by barbwpt
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More About the Author

George Hamilton likes to know what's going on around the world, to delve into the customs and practices of different cultures, and this is often a feature of his novels. His tales are based on people's intense personal or family dramas, with major social or political events strongly impacting their story. In addition to World Literature, he also writes multi-genre novels which include: Historical, Suspense/Thriller, and Contemporary. He currently lives in London, England.

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