Author Sandie Docker admits she “puts [her] heroines through a fair bit”.
One of her latest characters, Nicole, is no different.
Haunted by a traumatic past, Nicole flocks to Rosella Cove to try and rebuild her life in Docker’s second novel, The Cottage at Rosella Cove.
Docker deftly describes a woman struggling in the aftermath of an abusive relationship – something that 23% of Australian women have experienced.
The resulting trauma upends Nicole’s life, as she is forced to reevaluate everything she thought she knew.
Then, she meets Charlie.
An elderly hermit, Charlie harbours many secrets, including one that has consumed his life.
As their lives intertwine, and an unexpected friendship develops, they must confront the pain that torments them so they can find the life and family they were meant for.
“I had this image of Nicole and Charlie sitting together in front of a whitewashed wall, and [the story] blossomed from there,” Docker told Newcastle Weekly whilst on a book tour in Newcastle, where she attended university.
“I don’t plan my novels, they reveal themselves to me as I write.
“What I hope readers take away from [the book] is that if you surround yourself with good people, you can get through anything.”
The incredibly heartwarming and poignant novel is not the last we will see of Docker, who is contracted to publishers Penguin Random House for another two books, following the overwhelming success of her debut novel, The Kookaburra Creek Café.
Her next release, titled The Banksia Bay Beach Shack, will continue the quintessential Australian themes of community and place.
The Cottage at Rosella Cove is available now from all good book retailers.