Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Exiles

In 1840, a young Aboriginal girl named Mathinna is taken from the only family she has ever known to become an eccentric trinket for the governor’s wife on Van Dieman’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. The British who reside there are intrigued by this unique young lady that quickly learns their language and their manners. Evangeline Stokes is a governess for a wealthy family in London. She becomes the conquest of their handsome elder son and their naive decisions have landed her in prison. She is lovely, well educated, pregnant and sentenced to be shipped to Van Dieman’s Land. On the ship Evangeline befriends Hazel, another young convict sentenced to seven years for stealing a spoon. During the long passage the two women form a special bond and help each other in any way possible. The chapters of this novel alternate between Mathinna, Evangeline and Hazel. The history is fascinating and the writing is superb but something about the plot felt scattered. I cannot be more specific without spoilers but it took way too long to capture my attention. It is a solid good but I was hoping for more. ⭐⭐⭐

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