Review Blog

Mar 05 2014

Girl Of Shadows by Deborah Challinor

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Harper Collins, 2013. ISBN: 9780732292997.
(Age: Adult) This is an adult novel and unsuitable for senior high school students as it contains an abundance of vulgar language and adult themes.
Set in convict Australia over the period of 1830-1831 this novel follows the story of three convict girls working in assigned positions in Sydney Town to pay of their debts earned from felonies committed in London. Much better off in Australia the girls have their fair share of difficulties to overcome including the constant fear of being identified as the murderers of Gabriel Keegan, a cruel man who arguably deserved the end he found. The majority of the story focuses on Sarah Morgan and her position as a maid in the Green household and her endeavour to continue her stolen contribution to 'The Charlotte Fund' in order to support their dead friend's daughter in the Female Factory. Despite being unable to legally hold employment as convicts, both Friday Woolfe and Harriet Clarke also contribute through Friday's considerable talents as a prostitute and Harriet's skill in artistry for the local tattooist. Sarah is miserable in her placement with the Green's, Mrs. Green is a hard women and a vindictive mistress. The girls decide to frighten Mrs. Green while Mr. Green is absent, using the women's superstitions to create a fear which would be maddening.
The second in a trilogy this novel is one of the best historical fiction novels that I have read so far, unfortunately it is aimed at an adult audience. Over-run with brilliant detail and well developed characters this third-person piece is truly spellbinding and I would highly recommend this to mature aged lovers of historical fiction.
Kayla Gaskell

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