Be prepared for a heartbreaking novel if you decide to read The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline. It is a story about British female convicts transported to Australia in the 1840’s. But throughout the tragic events, the female characters in this book show resilience, courage and even hope. I am so glad a friend recommended this book to me!
There are several main characters in The Exiles. The book devotes sections of the book to each of them . . . Mathinna is an Aboriginal Australian, the daughter of the chief of her tribe. Evangeline is a London governess who is seduced by her employer’s son and finds herself transported to Australia aboard a convict ship. Hazel is a young girl sentenced to seven years for stealing a silver spoon. Their stories are hard to read – deplorable conditions, brutal guards and little hope for escape. But if you keep reading, the amazing resilience of these women and the friendship they form is so satisfying.
I didn’t know that 20% of Australians (about 5 million people) are descended from British convicts. So glad that I learned about this period of the 19th century and very grateful that I have a life that is so blessed compared to these women. If you like historical fiction, check out The Exiles!