by Christina Baker Kline
A special holiday two-fer from Janet and Linda!Reviewed by Janet:Falsely accused of theft and left pregnant after being seduced by her employer’s son, Evangeline loses her post as a governess and is sentenced to 14 years’ transport to a penal colony in Australia. While aboard, she befriends fellow captive Hazel, a young midwife, who in time gains the trust of and assists the ship’s doctor. Meanwhile, in Australia, Mathinna, a young aborigine and daughter of a chief, has been taken in at the whim of the governor’s wife. The stories of these three young women intertwine in this powerful story of strength, determination, and painful histories.Reviewed by Linda:This gripping novel is based on true events in British and Australian history. The author introduces us to several impoverished young British women who in the 19th century are convicted of crimes and sentenced to exile in a penal colony in Australia. The conditions on the repurposed slave ship that transports them are shocking, especially for those who are pregnant or have young children with them. Meanwhile in Australia we meet a native aboriginal girl named Mathinna, who is taken from her people and raised as an experiment at the governor's home. The life of one of the transplanted British women intersects with that of Mathinna in a book that makes us reconsider the meaning of freedom and second chances.