A few months back, while looking at the Wanted ads in issues of the Hobart Mercury of 1878, I was surprised to find, in amongst those for capital hearses, magpies and generally useful boys, an advertisement headed Wanted, a Wife. Mercury, Tas, 22 March 1878 Initially, I was interested to see if ‘Bachelor’ had advertised … Continue reading Wanted! A Wife.
In the 19th century the front page of newspapers was not the place for lurid headlines and large photographs designed to catch the eye. It was a serious place where births, marriages and deaths were announced; timetables for ferries listed; ‘superior’ accommodation, government tenders and everything from grain, newly milled flour and candles to ladies’ … Continue reading ‘WANTED a BOY to make himself generally useful.’
The Innocents is set in the American West in 1868. 'The Innocents' are Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy, a nephew and uncle team, who rob only banks and railways and are courteous to the ordinary people they may discommode during the course of a robbery. Abigail McKay, a Scottish woman, has spent weeks travelling by … Continue reading Book Review – The Innocents by C A Asbrey
First published in 1853, Ruth begins with sixteen-year-old Ruth Hilton, raised in a respectable loving family and newly orphaned, working for a seamstress in the town of Fordham. Beautiful, innocent and unworldly, she unwittingly attracts the attention of a wealthy young man, the feckless Henry Bellingham. When he convinces her to let him take her … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell
Near the beginning of Crimson and Bone Annie Stride, the main character of the novel, describes a room in the house of pre-Raphaelite painter Francis Maybrick Gill as 'a jewel box of a place'. Much the same could be said of this novel with its vibrant descriptions of the physical surroundings, of the characters and … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Crimson and Bone by Marina Fiorato
The starting point of The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton by Diane Atkinson is the legal case brought by George Norton against William Lamb, Lord Melbourne, in 1836 for compensation for illegal use of his property, Norton’s wife Caroline. Norton was, in essence, suing Melbourne for adultery. Norton lost the case, Melbourne remained as Prime … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Criminal Conversation of Mrs Norton by Diane Atkinson
This is an engaging first novel, categorized as historical romance, better described as historical fiction with a strong romance element. It is the story of Landra Andrews’ growth from childhood to womanhood and her struggle against both family and a narrow society to live and love on her own terms. Set in north Florida in … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – A Woman So Bold by L. S. Young
Published in 1966, Dominican-born Jean Rhys imagines the story of Edward Rochester’s first wife Antoinette Bertha Cosway and her troubled journey from a vulnerable new bride in the lush tropical paradise of the West Indies to madness and imprisonment in a cold English attic. Rhys uses multiple voices to tell the story and transforms the … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys