Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - BOOKS -

It’s a cry­ing shame we don’t see more of these in­cred­i­ble sto­ries of Aus­tralian con­victs and their often re­mark­able chil­dren. It’s set in 1848, a time when life is chal­leng­ing for just about ev­ery­one in the small colony of New South Wales. Fif­teen-yearold Mary Ann Gill is kept close and worked hard by her tough con­vict mum and dad, who’ve be­come the re­spectable own­ers of a fine ho­tel. When she tries to elope with the flighty son of a gen­tle­man set­tler, all hell breaks loose and the drama is played out in court, much to the glee of the scan­dallov­ing news­pa­pers.

Kiera Lind­sey takes the facts of this story of her great, great, great-aunt, places them in the tur­bu­lent pol­i­tics of the time, and fleshes them out with a de­cent but fair dose of imag­i­na­tion. Like her an­ces­tor, she flouts con­ven­tion with flair. LM

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