The River Child

(1 customer review)

Standing beside Elise’s grave, Siobhan Montrell remembers how her mother finally blew the perfect smoke ring on the day that Elise disappeared. Remembers the day that would change and define her life forever.

The toddler’s body was found in the river near Gables Guesthouse. Only eleven years old at the time, Siobhan has carried the guilt of Elise’s death with her since that day.

Twenty-eight years later, Siobhan returns to Rachley Island, having inherited Gables — guesthouse and family home — from her aunt. Cleaning the property to prepare it for sale, she discovers an old book in which her aunt used to draw and write, revealing the truth about the tragic drowning.

The River Child is a tale of grief and guilt, deceit and secrets, and ultimately forgiveness.

Available in print and ebook formats from Amazon,, or your favourite bookstore or online retailer.


Book Details

Weight 400 g

280 pages







Release date

17 November 2021




Odyssey Books

About The Author

Jo Tuscano

Jo Tuscano

Jo Tuscano is an author of both fiction and non-fiction. Jo taught English and ESL for twenty years before deciding to write full-time. Her first co-authored book, Back on the Block, was published in 2009. Jo is a content creator at, designing programs that use cross-cultural and Aboriginal learning methods. Jo works as an editor and has a passion for collaborating with First Nations people to bring their stories to light.

1 review for The River Child

  1. Maryann Miller

    A lovely, yet haunting tale of loss and broken relationships and family secrets, The River Child made me think about how all of those things affect many people’s lives. This was all told against a backdrop of vivid settings that were so deftly described I could hear the relentless rain that caused the flood, cutting off the island from the mainland. In a way, that was a metaphor for the way that Siobhan was cut off from a mother who drank too much and finally slid into severe depression.

    This story is intricately layered, with many characters whose relationships are all integral to the plot lines and who are part of Siobhan’s journey from grief and self-blame to forgiveness. For herself, and for all the people who were culpable in the deceptions of her past, as well as the death of that little girl.

    All of the characters are memorable and unique, and it’s hard to pick just one as a favorite, but I really liked Aunt Esther. She had been born without speech and for some reason was confined to a wheelchair. The way different people reacted to her reflected depths of their character, such as Brenton, Siobhan’s brother, who treated the old lady with unwavering kindness when it was his turn to feed her.

    I read for stories, but also for the beautiful use of language that brings those stories to life. Such as this line from The River Child: “Down in the village, bubbles of grief floated to the surface of everyday life, where they dissipated in ripples that spread quietly through the small community. No one was left unscathed.”

    This is a wonderful novel that I highly recommend.

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