Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter

Lizzie Pook

03 March 2022
304 pages


Picked as one of Stylist magazine's 'Fiction Books You Can't Miss in 2022' and longlisted for the HWA Debut Crown Award 2022

‘Tense and vividly atmospheric, with a determined, independent heroine intent on the truth . . . beautifully written, unflinching and brimming with adventure’ - Jennifer Saint, bestselling author of Ariadne

‘A stunning debut . . . paints a memorable picture of ambition, sacrifice and corruption while exploring personal loss as driving force’ - Charmaine Wilkerson, author of Black Cake

Fortune favours the brave in Lizzie Pook's mesmerising debut novel, Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter


The Brightwell family has sailed from England to make their new home in Western Australia. Ten-year-old Eliza knows little of what awaits them on these shores beyond shining pearls and shells like soup plates – the things her father has promised will make their fortune.


Ten years later and Charles Brightwell, now the bay’s most prolific pearler, goes missing from his ship while out at sea. Whispers from the townsfolk suggest mutiny and murder, but headstrong Eliza, convinced there is more to the story, refuses to believe her father is dead, and it falls to her to ask the questions no one else dares consider.

But in a town teeming with corruption, prejudice and blackmail, Eliza soon learns that the truth can cost more than pearls, and she must decide just how much she is willing to pay – and how far she is willing to go – to find it . . .

‘Gritty, lyrical, breath-taking. I couldn’t put it down’ - Fiona Valpy, author of The Dressmaker's Gift

'Adventure, feminist heroine, crocodiles and jellyfish, dangerous men, secrets, grief love and hope... It’s not just good, it’s important. Lizzie shines a light on a dark part of British history with grace, skill, sensitivity and honesty. I LOVED IT - Nikki May, author of Wahala

Immersive storytelling, a rollicking mystery and a take-no-prisoners heroine
Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter is a gorgeous debut. Both a breathtaking adventure story and a moving testimony to the lengths we go to for the people we love, it swept me away from the first page . . . A gleaming achievement
A lively tale with a gutsy, likeable heroine