A novel by Jennifer Lane


Most of the bad things that happened in our town since 1974 can be blamed on the famous event of that year – the celebration known by those who could say the words as ‘the River Picnic’ (and by those who couldn’t as ‘that night’ or ‘the you know what’). It was years before I’d hear more than just snippets of what went on and I still don’t know all the details. The adults spoke about it in whispers and only when they thought us kids were out of earshot.

All Gracie knows for sure, apart from the fact that Stu Bailey’s wife drowned, was that four times more babies than usual were born that October and not all of them looked like their dads. These babies become known as the River Children. Gracie’s brother was one of them.

Ten years later, word gets out about a sighting of the Virgin Mary, and ‘the Believers’ flock to Coongahoola to set up camp on the banks of the Bagooli River. The relationship between the Believers and the locals is one of indifference – until the first of the River Children is murdered.

All Gracie wants is for life to return to normal, but in her attempts to reunite her family, she discovers a terrifying secret that turns her world upside down.

What happened on the night of 22 March 1974? Who is hunting down the River Children? Through the eyes of 12-year-old Gracie, All our Secrets is an often humorous story that explores the serious themes of loss of innocence, friendship, love, infidelity, religion and death.