The Exiles

The Exiles

A Novel

Book - 2020
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Seduced by her employer's son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious Newgate Prison. After months in the fetid, overcrowded jail, she learns she is sentenced to 'the land beyond the seas,' Van Diemen's Land, a penal colony in Australia. Though uncertain of what awaits, Evangeline knows one thing: the child she carries will be born on the months-long voyage to this distant land. During the journey on a repurposed slave ship, the Medea, Evangeline strikes up a friendship with Hazel, a girl little older than her former pupils who was sentenced to seven years transport for stealing a silver spoon. Canny where Evangeline is guileless, Hazel--a skilled midwife and herbalist--is soon offering home remedies to both prisoners and sailors in return for a variety of favors
Publisher: New York, New York : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, ©2020.
ISBN: 9780063046740
Characteristics: 371 pages :,colour map ;,23 cm.


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May 05, 2021

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.

Feb 23, 2021

Absolutely loved this book.
A must read. But I confess I love all of Christina'a books

Jan 06, 2021

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.

Dec 01, 2020

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.

Nov 11, 2020

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.

Oct 19, 2020

This was a great read. It shows that converts were not judged by their peers.

Sep 15, 2020

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.

Sep 11, 2020

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 .

Sep 06, 2020

I loved this book and all of Kline's work.

Aug 31, 2020

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.

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May 05, 2021

“She (Ruby) thought of all the women she knew who’d been given nothing, who’d been scorned and misjudged, who’d had to fight for every scrap. They were her many mothers: Evangeline, who gave her life, and Hazel, who saved it. Olive and Maeve, who fed and nurtured her. Even Dr. Garrett. Each of them lived inside her, and always would. They were the rings of the tree that Hazel was always going on about, the shelf on her thread.” - pp. 360-61

May 05, 2021

“Evangeline nodded. For a moment all of them were quiet. Then she said, ‘Well, I don’t know if this will help, but …’ She took a breath. ‘When you cut down a tree, you can tell how old it is by the rings inside. The more rings, the sturdier the tree. So … I imagine I’m a tree. And every moment that mattered to me, or person I loved, is a ring.’ She put the flat of her hand on her chest. ‘All of them here. Keeping me strong.” - pp. 161-62

May 05, 2021

“Every person you’ve ever cared about, and every place you’ve ever loved, is one of these shells. You’re the thread that ties them together,” she’d said, touching Mathinna’s cheek. “You carry the people and places you cherish with you. Remember that and you will never be lonely, child.” - pp. 82-83


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Feb 20, 2021

3 Women prisoners to Tasmania.
Bleak. 371 p

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