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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  762 ratings  ·  142 reviews
The outlaw who became a folk hero for her daring sea voyage to escape oppression in the penal colony that was Australia—"Keneally's Jenny is a powerful personality" (Daily Mail). Soon to be a major movie.

Based on the life of an incredible historical heroine, Fled retells the story of a harrowing journey in search of love, justice, and freedom, told by the daughter of best-
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Arcade (first published April 15th 2019)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  762 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was lucky, as it turned out, to have received a copy of FLED from Edelweiss+ several months ago, however, I was in no hurry to read this novel, which was a big mistake! Having read two wonderful reviews by my Friends, Nat and Collin, I decided it was high time to open this book. Based on true yet incredible events, it tells a story of Jenny Trelawney who, as a young girl, was sent to the penal colony in Australia at the end of the 18th century and managed to flee in a most daring way. The fate ...more
Nat K
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nat by: Collin
i>” ‘ I said I would tell you our destination when I knew it. We will be travelling to Botany Bay.’
‘Is it closer than America?’ Jenny asked.
‘Much further I’m afraid. Further still than Africa. I expect we will be at sea for some months.’ “

Reading this made me realise how incredible it is to think that Australia was once an unknown land. Considering the now cluttered coastline, filled with people of all creeds and cultures, just over two hundred years ago, it was virgin territory. With indigenou
I haven't previously read any fiction set around the arrival of the first fleet in Australia in 1788 and the establishment of the first colony at Sydney Cove so really enjoyed this re-imagined account.

Based on the remarkable life of historical figure, Mary Bryant whose death sentence for highway robbery was commuted to transportation, it is an eye-opening account of what life would really have been like for the first settlers. As little is known of the actual details of the lives of the convict
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With the death of her Father and the King’s pernicious taxes forcing her family into penury, Jenny has little choice but to turn to a life of crime to survive. Whether it is chance or fate which places her in the path of a merchant’s horse, it is Jenny’s hand that grabs his ankle and pulls him down as he draws a knife to defend himself against a highway robber who has appeared from the forest. The penny drops literally as the robber rewards Jenny with a silver coin and an offer of nefarious empl ...more
Jenny Trelawney was shattered by her father’s death and the gradual decline of her mother. The need for money for food drove Jenny to become a highwaywoman, but although she and her two companions were good at what they did, they finally made a mistake. Their arrest and incarceration into Newgate Prison, and the news they were to hang wasn’t a surprise to Jenny. But the waiving of the hanging with transportation to the new colony at Sydney Cove was a big shock. Their journey on the Charlotte was ...more
Miriam Smith
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readers-first
"Meg Keneally’s debut solo novel is an epic historical adventure based on the extraordinary life of convict Mary Bryant".
I was already acquainted with the history of Mary and was looking forward to this particular author's fictionalised version of the plight of Mary and her ordeal at being transported to Australia in the late 18th century and her exceptional tale of survival.
In this book "Fled", Jenny is a convicted highway robber and in escaping the noose is 'transported beyond the seas for s
Tara Rock
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4-1/2 stars. A truly excellent story with historical content. It's said that hardship promotes character and Mary had character to build on. I love stories of survival and Mary endured one catastrophic event after another. I would have liked to have met Mary Bryant. Highly recommended.
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

'Few people here will care about the distance between Sydney Cove and Botany Bay and whether you left a footprint on the shore of one or the other. What matters is that they now have a name for you. One which is exotic, one people will remember. One we will make them remember.’

Fled takes you to another world, as the reader takes a step back in history, imaging the turbulent life and times of Jenny Trelawney, a fictional representation of the notorious convic
Joy D
In 1783 in Cornwall, Jenny Trelawney’s father dies, and her family is hard-pressed to survive. To avoid starvation, she turns to highway robbery. She eventually caught and sent to prison. She is fortunate not to be hanged and is sent to the new Australian penal colony. This book tells her story, including her transport by sea and her daring escape. Along the way, she suffers many hardships and tragedies.

Even though Jenny is no saint, I found myself rooting for her. She is a strong woman who ref
“This novel is based on the life of Mary Bryant, the woman behind one of history’s most daring escapes.” Mary Bryant (1765 – after 1794) was a Cornish convict sent to Australia. She became one of the first successful escapees from the fledgling Australian penal colony.

Southern Cornwall, 1783: Jenny Trelawney grew up helping her father on a boat, but when the sea claims his life, her family is forced to sell the boat to help with the money.

Jenny already has a reputation of an odd one, and with an
Jeanette Lewis
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aussie-authors
This is a fabulous book, particularly enjoyable for those who like an historical background read.

The author has beautifully woven this story about Jenny Trelawney, (Mary Bryant) the main character who is the daughter of a fisherman, Cornwall 1783 and life is hard. Taxes paid to the king make life difficult for everyday people and where illegal activities are pursued just to have food to eat. Her father is taken by the sea leaving her family in an even more precarious situation. Her mother havin
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘A girl of torn skirts and wet feet, a creature of the sea as her sister was a product of the hearth.’

Cornwall, 1783. Jenny Trelawney’s father is a fisherman, and Jenny has helped him. But when he dies at sea, the Trelawneys are forced to sell the boat. They need the money. But the money doesn’t last long, and Jenny’s mother is too full of grief to pay attention to the laundry she used to take in for payment. Jenny’s sister is in service, but Jenny’s too restless. She becomes a highwaywoman – un
Theresa Smith
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2019
Inspired by the life of Mary Bryant, the woman behind one of history’s most daring escapes, Fled takes the reader on an incredible historic adventure, from Cornwall to Australia, and then beyond. It’s an exceptional tale of endurance and survival, the events and characters interwoven throughout the story firmly embedded in history.

‘This woman, thought Jenny, has never had to eat limpets. Has never had to experience the kind of cold that kills a baby. Has never had to worry that an absent school
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an incredible story based on true life of Mary Bryant, one of the first convicts to be transported to Australia. This is historical fiction though and Mary becomes Jenny, but the tale is still astonishing and gripping. A proper adventure, horrific and based on choices that were never really choices, just a fight for survival.
Karen KK
I received this from for a review.

Jenny Gwyn has proven herself a survivor. When she's caught stealing to support her impoverished family, she and dozens of other convicts are sent across the world to help settle England's newest colony in Australia.

Based on the life of an incredible historical heroine, Mary Bryant. Great story, well told.

Meg Keneally’s debut solo novel is described as ‘an epic historical adventure based on the extraordinary life of convict Mary Bryant’.  In her historical note, the author explains where the story departs from known facts – relatively few occasions, as it happens – and where fictional characters replace their real life counterparts.

The prologue, set in 1791, provides a taste of the remarkable events that will unfold but first of all the reader is transported back in time to Cornwall in 1783.  Whe
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: england
As usual for me, I was initially cautious. However, I soon found myself caught up in this compelling narrative based on a true story of a female convict sent to Australia in the first days of its settlement by Europeans. Thank you very much, Beata, for your review, which decided me to buy the book.
I was impressed by the amount of research done and by the detail the author sets out, unflinchingly. I would say that I was hooked as soon as the description of the voyage began. The protagonist is tr
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As my friend Jane would say - What A Book!

It is hard to warrant that this is a first novel as the storytelling is compelling, the characters are rich and vibrant, the pacing is absolutely spot on. It really does drag you in to the tale and you can even get the odd evocative whiff of the sea whilst reading (and some other things as well but they are nowhere near as pleasant). Although based on the tale of a real woman, the author admits to taking a lot of latitude with the facts (slim as they a
Ivana - Diary of Difference
Thank you to ReadersFirst for sending me this book.
I look forward to reading it!
☼♄Jülie 
"Between 1788 and 1868, around 162,000 convicts were shipped across the ocean by the British government for detainment in penal colonies scattered across Australia. The earliest of which was located in The Rocks. Most convicts brought to Sydney, or New Holland as it was called then, were being punished for mere petty crimes.
Convicted of stealing a silk bonnet, Mary Bryant was one of the first women prisoners brought to The Rocks in 1788. However, in 1791, Mary schemed a masterful plan to escape

Fled set in NSW

Visit the locations in the novel

I love stories which mix fact and fiction. When they do it this well, I almost want to hug the book.

This is a fictional account of the true story of Mary Bryant, a convict who was sent by boat to the colony in NSW, Australia. Her life, from her time living in Cornwall, and then Plymouth is documented first. There is little known of the real Mary Bryant so this helps to visualise her and her life before the journey to the colony. The court scenes in particular reve
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book you cannot put down that transports you in the best way, not how the convicts were transported, from the damp forests of Cornwall to Australia and back . Based on a true story of Mary Bryant, the author brings this courageous woman to life, as she springs from the pages dealing with poverty, illness and tragedy and a relentless pursuit of freedom.
Every character is well drawn, whether casually kind, or calculatedly vicious, and you can feel the swell of the sea and the stench of the bilg
Megan L (Iwanttoreadallthebooks)
Fled by Meg Keneally is a historical fiction novel, based on the true story of Mary Bryant. It tells the story of Jenny Gwyn, who must save her family from poverty and starvation by becoming a highwaywoman. She is arrested and then condemned to death. But instead of being hanged, she is sentenced to be transported to Australia, England's new colony, to help settle it. On the journey by ship to Australia, she is forced to sell her body for protection. While Jenny hopes that Australia will be a fr ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the storyline of fisherwoman Jenny, who becomes a highway robber, gets caught and ends up being transported to Australia. But all she longs to do is get away from the cruel brutally harsh existence, which even her own violent past couldn't prepare her for. But her skills in a boat may have done.

I was instantly captivated by the tale of convict Jenny yet all the way through her story felt very familiar. That's because it is loosely based around the true story of convict woman, Mary Brya
Carole Frank
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fictionalised true tale of Mary Bryant, who became a highway woman to avoid destitution, was caught and sent to Sydney Cove. She had a child, married a fellow prisoner and realised that at that time there was not enough food to sustain all of the people in captivity, despite her and her husband's success in fishing. Mary, or Jenny in the book, decided the only way was to steal a boat and make their way up the coast of Australia to freedom. After a very arduous journey, with two childre ...more
Laura Tenfingers
This was a really interesting book, based on a true story, that I'm really glad I learned about. It's pretty amazing that something like this could and did happen.

We learn about a British woman convict who is transported to what is to become Sydney. She has children, marries, barely survives a few years in the convict colony and escapes. Her character was well done and I felt like I was there with her all along the way.

I had a couple of gripes though. One about how the author portrays the colon
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well constructed and written, this novel explored the true story of Mary Bryant, who was transported to Australia from Cornwall for the crime of robbery, or actually highway robbery.

Very enjoyable and I rate it 4.5.
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘A girl of torn skirts and wet feet, a creature of the sea as her sister was a product of the hearth.’

Cornwall, 1783. Jenny Trelawney’s father is a fisherman, and Jenny has helped him. But when he dies at sea, the Trelawneys are forced to sell the boat. They need the money. But the money doesn’t last long, and Jenny’s mother is too full of grief to pay attention to the laundry she used to take in for payment. Jenny’s sister is in service, but Jenny’s too restless. She becomes a highwaywoman – un
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To summarise, this story is a retelling of an iconic historical figure, Mary Bryant, and her journey to and escape from one of the first Australian colonies. This story is heart-wrenching with some horrific moments and knowing that a real-life woman suffered through most of the events occurring in this book makes my blood curdle. The author did a great job of treating Mary Bryant's hardships with sensitivity and respect.

This is a wonderful novel. I'm truly blown away by the stark and simple lan
Anita Tymkiw
Jun 08, 2019 rated it liked it
It is hard for me to figure out why I didn't love this book. Mary Bryant was a worthy historical figure with plenty of hardship and courage to make for an interesting story. Once I started I really had to work hard not to give up on it. I think the recount of Mary's backstory dragged on (she is named Jenny Trelawny in the book). Her family life, forest dwelling and time waiting for transportation was important context but I felt it took too long to get to the sections of interest. It wasn't unti ...more
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Meg Keneally started her working life as a junior public affairs officer at the Australian Consulate-General in New York, before moving to Dublin to work as a sub-editor and freelance features writer. On returning to Australia, she joined the Daily Telegraph as a general news reporter, covering everything from courts to crime to animals' birthday parties at the zoo. She then joined Radio 2UE as a ...more

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