Darren Mort, family law barrister, actor and filmmaker, releases debut novel inspired by true events.
Isla’s Song, a suspenseful family drama is available now through Wilkinson Publishing
A must-read for every parent and child caregiver
The riveting and thought-provoking debut novel by Australian family law barrister Darren Mort shines a light on how the words, feelings and actions of every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or other caregivers can shape a child’s future and affect generations to come.
Isla’s Song, published by Wilkinson Publishing, is a beautifully written suspenseful family drama about a child who is abducted by her depressed mother from her home in Melbourne, Australia and relocated overseas while her anguished father spends years trying to find her.
Based on true events, this emotionally intelligent and richly detailed novel is elevated by Mort’s intricate understanding of family law and the psychology and trauma that’s associated. As much as Isla’s Song is a page-turning novel, it also offers remarkable insight into the human condition in the family context.
It’s 1955 and Isla Johnson, aged four is living with her father Oliver, a piano teacher and her mother, the hard-working medical nurse Jess in their home in Camberwell, an upper middle-class, leafy suburb of Melbourne, Australia. There’s unspoken tension in the adult world around Isla, but music seems to make it all go away.
Unbeknown to both Isla and her father, Jess, suffering undiagnosed depression (as depression and mental illness largely were in the mid-20th century), is planning to disappear, taking her daughter with her.
When Jess abducts Isla, she first seeks refuge with her sister in London, who then helps her escape to Scotland’s remote Orkney Islands. Oliver begins a frantic search that leads to a cat and mouse chase of near misses, dramatic getaways and heartbreaking dead ends. Years later, a prodigious musical talent bursts onto the world stage. And suddenly, Oliver has hope that he may have found his beloved long-lost daughter.
With music weaving an emotional thread throughout the novel, featuring the heady folk scene of the 1960s as a backdrop, this is a poignant tale of choices, betrayal, stardom, eternal hope and most of all, love.
It shows us how pain can evolve into resolve, how bonds can prevail and how determination and opportunity can make for a formidable duo.
Isla’s Song is available to order now at Wilkinson Publishing as well as all good bookstores and online retailers.
About the author: Darren Mort is expert on family law, divorce and separation, having specialised in this area of law as a barrister for more than 30 years. He was awarded Barrister of the Year in 2022 at the Australian Law Awards. Darren is also a professional actor and producer. His short film, Degree of Separation, a story about family violence, won multiple international awards, opening the Beverley Hills Film Festival at the Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles in 2016 with a Best Short Film nomination.
He is a director of the To Be Loved Network – a charitable foundation which advances the best interests of children navigating conflict in parental separation and divorce (www.tobeloved.org.au). He is an advocate for victims of family violence, including children and is a strong supporter of Safe Steps.
Darren has published a children’s book, Tommy & Tiger Terry and launched a short film on children and family violence in August, 2019, TOMMY. The film is embedded in a High Conflict Program in the USA Court System. It has won 12 Best Film awards and was nominated in BAFTA and Academy Award Qualifying events.