Review Blog

Sep 16 2011

Letty and the stranger's lace by Alison Lloyd

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Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Our Australian Girl (series). Penguin, 2011, ISBN 978 0 14 330541 8.
(Ages 9+). Recommended . Australian history. A charming story of Sydney Town in the early days unfolds as newly arrived Letty and her sister, Lavinia try to find work in the struggling colony. Lavinia is taken on as a seamstress by a wealthy family,but there is not room for Letty. She remains at Mrs Chisholm's establishment doing odd chores there. One of her tasks is to fetch the bread from the local baker, a gruff, lonely man, and Letty finds that a strange woman resides in his back room. Letty is warned to let her be, and receives some strong words from the woman when she tries to be friendly. Eventually through her beautiful lace, Letty develops a friendship with this woman, the sister of the baker, and it is not until she is in some distress, that young Letty realises that she is about to have a baby. All is revealed as to who the woman is and why she is living where she is.
I found this to be one of the better stories in this series. The feeling of Sydney Town is evident in every word, but the information given is not forced upon the reader, as it appears in some of the others in the series. The story is slight but real and involving and gives a fascinating account of what life must have been like in this place where women were few and work scant. The image of women in the colony too is given a fresh approach in this fine tale.
One of the quartet of stories about Letty, newly arrived in Sydney in 1841, this group of stories fills out life at that time. Within the series, Our Australian Girl, this particular group of stories will certainly add to the reader's knowledge of how life was led by a young girl in the new colony.
Fran Knight

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