There is a lot to like in this debut novel from the Australian writer. It feels like a realistic, if very bleak, view of what women faced when transported to Australia.
Transported for seven years, she is placed in indentured service. She rebels against the rules and the attitudes of her masters, and finds herself resassigned.
But that’s an even worse situation, and this time when it fails she finds herself condemned to a place in the interior.
Isolated, angry, under threat, she decides to take her chances on the run in a wilderness that is both beautiful and brutal. When bushrangers find her, she has no choices left.
One, Matt, has his eye on her, and he makes sure she stays close. In Hobart Town, the bushrangers are notorious, and there is big price on their heads.
Soon enough, there are rumours they have been joined by a woman – one known to be rebellious – and she joins them on the Wanted posters.
Leary’s debut novel is a powerful, bleak telling of the terrible conditions that faced female convicts in Van Diemen’s Land, and she pulls no punches in detailing the degradation and despair they faced.
But the story jumps around at times and many of the minor characters seem interchangeable.
This book was published in July 2017. This review first appeared in the Herald Sun’s Weekend magazine.