The Golden Day, by Ursula Dubosarsky

There were only eleven of them, like eleven sisters all the same age in a large family. Because it was such a very small class, they had a very small classroom, which was perched at the very tip of the school.
‘Today, girls,’ said Miss Renshaw, ‘we shall go out into the beautiful garden and think about death.’

It is 1967 and eleven young girls take regular trips to the local gardens with their teacher, to observe life, to write poetry and to learn from the gardener, Morgan, who is a poet. But on the day that a man is hanged, Miss Renshaw takes them to the gardens to think about death. Glad of the chance for fresh air, the girls don’t object. But when Morgan offers to show them a cave at the beach near the park, something terrible happens. Miss Renshaw disappears.

When the girls are forced to return to school alone, they are not sure how much they should share with the adults who question them – after all, Miss Renshaw told them that Morgan and the cave were their secret. Will they get in trouble if they tell the truth?

The Golden Day is a beautiful novel with and atmosphere and dream-like intrigue similar to Picnic at Hanging Rock. Readers are invited to know the girls and to suffer with them in their child-like confusion, at the same time trying to puzzle out what has happened to Miss Renshaw, and unravel other mysteries which arise as the story unfolds.

Not a long volume, there is still a lot here to digest, leaving the reader thinking about the story long after the last page is turned.

The Golden Day

The Golden Day, by Ursula Dubosarsky
Allen & Unwin, 2011
ISBN This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.