Very much a novel of its age. But looking backwards rather than forward.
"Picnic at Hanging Rock" made me think of Muriel Spark and Louisa May Alcott, but the Australian girls/little women here have very little sense of humor and much more mannerism. The writing here is rather plain in the worst sense of the term, while the dialogues are rarely any better than fulsome.
In a sense this is twice a Victorian book as its author (née Miss à Beckett Weigall) was from St Kilda, Victoria - now a vibrant place - and definitely a Victorian in spirit and prose.
I expected intrigue and ambiguity to pop up at some specific point of the novel, but am afraid I couldn't find much of both here.
It's interesting because if I come back to my childhood, I remember how much the movie Peter Weir took from this novel haunted me for years with its enigmatic light conveying a distinct sense of evil in beautiful but unknown nature.
Oh well, I guess how I should watch that movie again rather than trying to find reasons to reappraise the novel.