Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are respectfully cautioned that this website contains images of people who have passed away.

The China Garden

Over two hot weeks one summer, cracks emerge in the veneer of a small coastal town.


Laura has returned home for her mother’s funeral after years in exile, only to discover her upbringing was based on a lie; elderly Cress, the moral compass of the community, conceals her own vices; while young Abby walks the streets, her bruises wrapped in baggy clothes.

When a newborn baby is found abandoned in a backyard, this dramatic event pierces the lives of these three very different women. But it is gentle Kieran, an unlikely guardian, who knows their secrets and watches over them.

As their lives collide, what is buried can no longer remain hidden. The China Gardenis a captivating story about betrayal and its echoes across generations.

Kristina Olsson

Kristina Olsson

Kristina Olsson is the author of the novel In One Skin (2001) and the biography Kilroy Was Here (2005). Her second novel, The China Garden (2009), received the 2010 Barbara Jefferis Award for its empowering depiction of women in society and was also shortlisted for the Kibble Literary Award. Kristina’s journalism and non-fiction have been published in The Australian, the Courier-Mail, the Sunday Telegraph and Griffith Review. She has worked extensively as a teacher of creative writing and journalism at tertiary level and in the community, and as an advisor to government. She lives in Brisbane.