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THE EXILES is solid historical fiction written straightforwardly by author Christina Baker Kline. It’s a character-driven story of courage, endurance, and survival set mostly in 1840s Australia. Evangeline and Hazel are young women convicted of crimes in Britain and exiled to the Australian penal colony, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania today). Mathinna is an aboriginal girl who is taken from her people and her land to live as an object in the Colonial Governor’s home. The descriptions of the conditions aboard the transport ship and in prison, as well as the characters’ emotional suffering, are heartbreaking. Even though parts of the book are difficult to read, the ending is satisfying, even hopeful. My only disappointment is that Mathinna's story was so abruptly cut short.
Absolutely loved this book.
A must read. But I confess I love all of Christina'a books
I agree with the review by Reads-a-Lot. It is a powerful well-researched but very bleak novel telling of the realities of women prisoners sent to what is now Tasmania and the trials they suffered in prison there. It intertwines the story of an aborigine girl, the daughter of a king. She is an orphan, living in a town where her people were forced to live and was brought by the governor's wife to "civilize" her.
The notes at the end and the books and other materials used to research and write this book are impressive. Someday I would like to read some of them.
another really want to read --- In this gorgeous novel, Christina Baker Kline brilliantly recreates the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, telling the story of Australia from a fresh perspective, through the experiences of Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinna.
I loved this book! It's a fascinating read about women taken on ships as prisoners to what is present day Tasmania. All of the women are exiled for one reason or another. They become linked much like Mathinna' s necklace that she was given by her mother. The Exiles is heartwrenching at times but well worth the tears.
This was a great read. It shows that converts were not judged by their peers.
It was interesting to read a historical fiction book about Australia. My reading about the history of Australia has been limited. However, the storyline was disjointed in my opinion. For that reason, I rated it a four star read.
The author is a very talented storyteller and even if the plot was cousu de fil blanc and predictable, the historical elements are well researched and the characters well developed.
Historical fiction at its best , very evocative of the times .
This book has an interesting premise and is well written but turned out to be rather bleak. Set in 1840 Australia when England was forcibly removing the Aborigines while also sending over ships full of convicts, it follows 2 female convicts and a young indigenous girl. Reading the book flap that called this a gorgeous novel about the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, I imagined the convicts starting a new life on a homestead in the Outback. Not so. All three of the characters face cruelty, brutality, and hardship in prison, on a prison ship, and in a ugly little town. It was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages, but this is definitely not a feel-good story.
I really liked following the experience of a female convict at this time in history when Britain was sending convicts to a penal colony in Australia. The whole book was an interesting and informing snap shot of a time and place in history. I also thought the pacing was good. The book moved along nicely but never felt rushed. This is an easy book to recommend and a nice WWII break for fans of historical fiction.
I’ve been a fan of Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train. She doesn’t disappoint in her new book which looks at Australia through the eyes of thee women who were all forced to leave their homes by the British. First there is young aboriginal who is made into a “pet” by a local governor’s wife who wants to see if the aboriginals could be domesticated. The other two are a naïve British governess who believes the son of her employer when he says he loves her, only to find herself convicted for the theft of a ring he gave her and loaded on a transport ship to Australia. The third is a Scottish girl who stole a silver spoon and is transported to Australia. Kline makes great use of her research in telling their stories. While there is sadness and horror, there is also hope in the story of the women brought by transport and forced to help settle a new country. Yet, Kline, makes clear in the story of the aboriginal chief’s daughters, great damage was done by English interference. In the audiobook, the narrator, Caroline Lee, does great justice to the voices of the three women.
A book that met my expectations of interest, but every time I thought I knew where the story was going, I was surprised. The general story--of British female prisoners being shipped to Australia--is one I know of historically, but haven't read any novels about; and to delve into an array of theirs experiences was fascinating as well as heartbreaking. But this book doesn't only tell the tale of those who were sent to Australia; it also shines a light on how the British treated the native population, as well--introducing you to one young girl's fate at the hands of a wealthy immigrant family. While I'm not always a fan of back-and-forth story lines, the way these different perspectives wove together created a piercing overview of what happens when people aren't valued as people, whoever they may be. The author brought these characters to life in such a way, that I have to remind myself they're not actually a part of history.
A New & Noteworthy staff pick 2020. A NYT bestselling author writes a fascinating historical novel about the women convicts sent to Australia from England in the 1860s. If you read historical fiction for a great story and deep research, this is one to read.
Women's lives in 19th century Australia. British colonials up to no good, as per usual....
Goodreads pick for August 2020.