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The Exiles

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The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant novel about three women whose lives are bound together in nineteenth-century Australia and the hardships they weather together as they fight for redemption and freedom in a new society.

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.

Though Australia has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, the British government in the 1840s considers its fledgling colony uninhabited and unsettled, and views the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. By the time the Medea arrives, many of them have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by white colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land.

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. While life in Australia is punishing and often brutally unfair, it is also, for some, an opportunity: for redemption, for a new way of life, for unimagined freedom. Told in exquisite detail and incisive prose, The Exiles is a story of grace born from hardship, the unbreakable bonds of female friendships, and the unfettering of legacy.


384 pages, ebook

First published August 25, 2020

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About the author

Christina Baker Kline

20 books6,287 followers
A #1 New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including The Exiles, Orphan Train, and A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline is published in 40 countries. Her novels have received the New England Prize for Fiction, the Maine Literary Award, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Award, among other prizes, and have been chosen by hundreds of communities, universities and schools as “One Book, One Read” selections. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in publications such as the New York Times and the NYT Book Review, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, LitHub, Psychology Today, Poets & Writers, and Salon.

Born in England and raised in the American South and Maine, Kline is a graduate of Yale (B.A.), Cambridge (M.A.) and the University of Virginia (M.F.A.), where she was a Hoyns Fellow in Fiction Writing. A resident of New York City and Southwest Harbor, Maine, she serves on the advisory boards of the Center for Fiction (NY), the Jesup Library (Bar Harbor, ME), the Montclair Literary Festival (NJ), the Kauai Writers Festival (HI), and Roots & Wings (NJ), and on the gala committees of Poets & Writers (NY), The Authors Guild (NY) and Friends of Acadia (ME). She is an Artist-Mentor for StudioDuke at Duke University and the BookEnds program at Stony Brook University.

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5 stars
17,019 (34%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,983 reviews
Profile Image for Christina Kline.
Author 20 books6,287 followers
July 5, 2020
I have to add this to my own bookshelf, don't you think?
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,286 reviews2,205 followers
September 14, 2020
I learned about things I had little or no knowledge of. I cried because the story of the women depicted here was heartbreaking and especially so because it tells of things that really happened. I was also inspired because the strength of these characters allowed them to rise above their dire circumstances. Christina Baker Kline, though provides a realistic picture and not all of the characters can escape their fate. With her exceptional story telling and meticulous research, as well as beautiful writing, Kline brings to life two pieces of Australian and British history that occurred under the British colonization in the 1840’s - the “convict women” and the horrific treatment of Aborgines, the indigenous people of Australia.

Mathinna, a little Aboriginal girl, taken in by the wife of the governor of Van Diemen’s Land, as if she was a thing, losing her home, her family and her sense of belonging had my heart from the beginning. Evangeline, a governess for the children of a wealthy family in London is taken advantage of and falsely accused of stealing. Hazel, a sixteen year old girl, with such a sad life steals a silver spoon and had nothing good to take from her previous life except her knowledge of herbs, home remedies and her midwife skills. You can learn more about the plot in the book descriptions and other reviews that will give more of an account of the horrific treatment and conditions for women in a prison in England in 1840 and the awful details of their time on a ship as they are sent to Australia. Better yet, I recommend you read this book for yourself to get to know these women and girls who have suffered losses, are victimized. As sad and heartbreaking as it is, there is beauty in this story in the connections they make with each other, in the bonds formed. There is goodness where you least expect to find it in the tenacious, but good hearted convict, Olive. And there is the good Dr. Dunne, the only one on their side on the ship and later in Australia. The ending, what to say about it, except it’s perfect.

My only criticism of the book is the loose end around Mathinna’s story. While Kline ties this up in her acknowledgments at the end of the book, I felt that Mathinna, being the real character deserved her story be told. The treatment of the Aborigines was gut wrenchingly reminiscent of the treatment of Native Americans in my own country. In spite of my one criticism, I have to give this five stars . It’s a fantastic piece of historical fiction that had me looking for more information about the convict women and the Aborigines.

I received a copy of this book from William Morrow through Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
793 reviews12.4k followers
January 12, 2021
“She was about to learn what it was like to be contemptible.”

4.5 stars

The Exiles is a historical novel that takes place primarily in 19th century Australia about the fate of two women sentenced to be transported to a life of servitude, and a young indigenous girl who is forcefully taken from her people and her land to become an object in the Governor’s home.

Evangeline, a governess, Mathinna, a young aboriginal girl, and Hazel, a thief: three characters with little in common except all are forced into exile, brought together by circumstance, struggling to survive in a strange new world.

The narrative is split between the three characters. Each perspective offers something new on gender dynamics, class, social status, colonization, objectification, and race in the 19th century. All three characters have compelling and unique voices. They had me cringing and crying frequently, but never did I give up hope for them, even when it was too late.

This book destroyed me. It is well-written and researched, but, at times, very hard to read due to the severe circumstances these characters have to deal with. Several moments left me distraught and feeling destroyed. I still have not recovered from the scene with Waluka--that incident broke my heart. I did lower my review by half a star because, in the end, I felt Mathinna’s character was given short-shrift and simply faded away. Despite this element, I highly recommend The Exiles for those who enjoy historical fiction and strong female characters.
Profile Image for Debbie W..
724 reviews487 followers
December 29, 2022
Ever since visiting Australia in 1995, I have been fascinated by this country and its people, from the native Aborigines and their intriguing culture, to the convicts who were forcibly transported and made to settle in this strange, unforgiving land.

I was blown away by how Christina Baker Kline brought these historic experiences to life! She doesn't sugarcoat anything, from the horrendous living conditions in London's Newgate Prison, the long, arduous journey by ship, to finally landing and living in harsh circumstances within the penal colonies throughout Australia (specifically Tasmania). She also depicts the barbaric treatment and attempted genocide of the Aborigines.

Five stars:
1. for developing the main (and secondary) characters with such conviction, that you can't help but feel empathy, disdain, fear, compassion, anger (you pick the emotion!) towards them;
2. for involving all of my senses with her vividly descriptive scenes - I felt like I was right alongside the main characters as the story evolved;
3. for a well-paced plot from start to finish;
4. for her carefully-chosen authentic vocabulary;
5. for a well-researched piece of literature;
6. for including an Old World glossy color map of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania); and,
7. for showing; not telling!

If you enjoy heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping, outstanding historical fiction with unexpected plot twists and strong characters, then I highly recommend this book! It is going on my "Favorites" bookshelf, and I will definitely be reading more of her work!
Profile Image for Beata.
729 reviews1,115 followers
October 4, 2020
A fine example of what historical fiction should offer: well-developed characters, some historic figures, the feel of the times, places and events, and a plot that keeps you interested.
Stories of female exiles, interior and exterior, for whom fate did not deal the best of cards ... The main female characters are strong and have the courage to stand up against the male brutality during the voyage and later on in Australia and Tasmania. Ms Kline offers us a terrific insight into the transportation conditions and what awaited convicts at the destination.
The tale of Mathinna, an indigenous girl who is forced to leave her family and as a kind of an experiment, become 'civilized' in the house of Mr John Franklin, is most poignant ...
I listened to The Exiles and recommend this version if you enjoy audiobooks as Ms Lee does a fantastic job.
January 5, 2021
5 exquisite stars for this beautiful book!

This novel follows several brave and inspiring women on a journey that weaves their lives together in unexpected ways. It is a story about the strength, determination and endless drive found deep within a woman’s soul. It is a powerful depiction of how women hold each other up in this world.

Told through multiple perspectives, I was invested in every character from start to finish. I loved what each character brought to the storyline, each narrative added a deeper layer of intensity and detail which all brilliantly weaved together in unexpected ways. These characters will stay with me a long time.

The elegant and beautiful writing pulled me in completely. Many powerful sentences made me stop and think. This is one of those books that I so thoroughly enjoyed reading that I didn’t want it to end. I truly cherished and enjoyed the experience of reading every single word.

Orphan Train, by this author, is one of my favourite books and while this was not an intense as Orphan Train, it was equally impactful. It is a quiet but captivating story. Not gripping or suspenseful, but beautifully unique and unforgettable.

This novel has confirmed my love for this authors writing. I absolutely must read A Piece Of The World soon.

Thank you to Edelweiss for my review copy! Thank you to my lovely local library for the loan!
Profile Image for Melissa ~ Bantering Books.
205 reviews789 followers
June 25, 2021
Be sure to visit Bantering Books to read all my latest reviews.

4.5 stars

Resilience. Survival. Freedom.

These are just a few of the profound themes woven into The Exiles, Christina Baker Kline’s gorgeous novel of the British colonization of nineteenth-century Australia.

Admittedly, this is a historical time period about which I previously knew nothing. So you can imagine my horror when I learned of Britain’s forcible seizure of the Australian land from its Aboriginal people. It was also equally appalling to discover that the British government would sentence female convicts to disproportionate prison terms in order to exile them to Van Diemen’s Land, an Australian penal colony, where the women were then made to labor off their time, while enduring poor treatment and foul living conditions.

And Kline’s story of three such exiles – British convicts, Evangeline and Hazel, and Mathinna, an orphaned Aboriginal child – captures this brutal history with incisiveness and emotion.

The Exiles is riveting. It’s heartbreaking, but hopeful. And it’s written beautifully, with prose elegant enough to rival poetry.

It was almost a five-star read based on enjoyment alone. But I cannot overlook the fact that Kline fails to ever break the surface of the story. She only skims the exterior, resulting in the characters, history, and setting not feeling fully fleshed.

Had the story been richer, with a greater depth and more rounded characterization, The Exiles would have been epic. One day, it may have even been considered a classic work of historical fiction.

But it’s not. And it won’t ever be. Yet I loved it, nonetheless.

Bantering Books
Profile Image for Karen.
573 reviews1,116 followers
September 25, 2020
In school I had little interest in history and this is why I have come to love historical fiction as an adult.
I had no knowledge of this part of Australian/British 19th century history and their penal system.
This novel follows two young English women (wrongly accused) sent by an overly crowded slave ship to Australia’s Newgate prison, and also follows an eight year old Aboriginal girl adopted by white colonists just as a “curiosity” and an attempt to “civilize” her.
The bravery of these three throughout all the injustices done to them was astounding!
This has been optioned for a tv series!
Loved it!
Profile Image for Libby.
581 reviews157 followers
November 28, 2020
4+ It was no surprise to learn in the acknowledgments that Christina Baker Kline’s father is a historian or that her mother was a women’s studies professor. Kline’s appreciation of history and the skillful way she communicates the lives of marginalized women are on display in this unique story of the exiled. It feels raw and gritty, sad and hopeful, but true to the place and time about which she writes, 1840s Australia and London. It is the historical details that give the story conviction but it is the characters that give it life.

Growing up as a vicar’s daughter, Evangeline had been in a protected bubble. She’d learned little of the world that didn’t come from books. When her father dies, thanks to all that book learning, she is able to become a governess to two children in London. Through unfortunate circumstances, Evangeline will find herself accused of crimes that she did not commit and thrown into Newgate Prison. Without a male protector and without friends or any social support, she, like many women of that era, is faced with the challenge of daily survival. Her plight reminds me of the women in Hallie Rubenhold’s book, 'The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper.' Falling to the worst of the low, as an inmate of Newgate Prison, Evangeline learns feelings she’s never experienced before, what it’s like to evoke disgust in others and feel debased and disgraced by what she has become (in the eyes of others).

Hazel is not introduced until over one hundred pages in, but she’s worth the wait. A pale, young girl with copper hair, she is one of many women convicts who, along with Evangeline, are being sent to Australia. Her crime, the theft of a silver spoon. Hazel’s story is as sad as Evangeline’s, or perhaps sadder, for Hazel’s mother had fallen on hard times and began to push her daughter to commit acts of thievery. However, Hazel did learn midwifery and the healing art of herbs from her mother. These are skills that would play large in Hazel’s future. On the slave ship, the Medea, Hazel and Evangeline become friends, united in a violent struggle against a sailor, an ex-convict, who will figure significantly in their lives.

The last character to mention is Mathinna, an Aboriginal girl adopted by Lady Jane Franklin and her husband, Governor John Franklin. Eight years old and an orphan, they take her in to see if she can be civilized, but Mathinna will soon come to feel as though she is only part of one of their many collections. After all, they have shelves lined with Aboriginal skulls and artifacts. Although this is a fictionalized account, the story of Mathinna is a real one, but don’t read the true account until after you’ve finished this book. There are too many correlations that might spoil the story for you. Some may feel that Mathinna’s story is untethered at the end. For me it was a hanging thread that spoke volumes, leaving a sort of haunting dissatisfaction that lingered in my mind.

The theme of the exile and marginalized women are foremost in this novel, but Kline also shows the resilience of the human spirit and how relationships and connectivity are essential elements for survival. The other book that I’ve read by this author is ‘A Piece of the World’ and it is a world of difference away from this one, but equally well-written and interesting. Kline’s prose is straight forward without a lot of flourishes or metaphors. It is grounded and striking for enveloping the reader in a sense of history and the lives of everyday characters, who could easily be us, but for some trick of time and fate.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,008 reviews36k followers
September 24, 2020
“The Exiles” was a tremendous historical fiction novel.
In South Whales, a state in southeast Australia, was founded by the British as a penal colony in 1788. Over the next 80 years, more than 160,000, (32,000 women), convicts were transported to Australia from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Whales, in lieu of being given the death penalty.
Common crimes committed by convicts were petty theft, burglary, stealing, military offenses, and prostitution.
The convicts were employed to work for the free settlers who moved to Australia.
Today, most penal colonies have been abolished.

Christina Baker Kline, whose historical fiction books “The Orphan Train”, and “A Piece of the World”, were ‘both’ outstanding, emotional, exquisitely written, researched, and simply gripping with detailed gorgeous prose.....does it again, in “The Exiles”.
This epic masterly-mesmerizing novel is a memorable achievement....
Christina’s best to date!

It doesn’t surprise me one iota, that “The Exiles” is optioned for television by the same producer, ( Bruna Papandrea), of HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies”. This book is ‘that’ visual-in-scope.

*Evangeline Stokes*, was 20 years old when her clergyman father died....an only daughter....with no other living relatives alive. Her vicar father and she had spent many nights and hours studying together. Evangeline was educated primarily - and diligently - by her father. She was knowledgeable in Greek, Latin, philosophy, math, science, literature, and Shakespeare.
Evangeline was also beautiful.... but with only a small inheritance from her father, and no eligible men in her village fighting for her hand, she didn’t have many options at the time of her father’s death.
She was shy like her father which was often mistaken for being aloof and snobby. This personality trait followers her in the next year....not to her detriment.
Evangeline’s best option was an offer (20 pounds a year, plus room and board), to become a governor to two children, (Beatrice and Ned), for a wealthy family.
Like a shakespearean comedy of errors....(absurdity, and nonsense)....but in Evangeline’s case, (pure bogus deviating tragedy), the crimes she was accused of - were a sham, false, and delusory!
A maid, named Agnes, was jealous of Evangeline’s academic skills, and beauty. Agnes created a hogwash nightmare accusatory tale - that sent Evangeline -to Newgate prison - in the city of London- then eventually to a penal colony in Australia.
A judge sentenced Evangeline to 14 years at the penal colony, ( on the Van Diemen’s Land, now known as Tasmania, in Australia). It took the jury all of 10 minutes to find her guilty.

Evangeline and other prisoners were transported to Australia on a slave ship— called ‘Medea’. The voyage was treacherous; ghastly conditions due to the elements themselves, horrible sickness, and disgusting uninviting crew members.
There was actually one kind crew member on the slave ship - a doctor - Dr. Caleb Dunne - who helped everyone when needing medical help.

A young teenager, *Hazel Ferguson*, from Glasgow, daughter of a midwife, orphaned, like Evangeline- was skilled in midwifery and knowledgeable with healing herbs— she had a snappy harsh-in-your-face-personality- disposition.....but proved to be quite helpful assisting Dr. Dunne.
Hazel was sentenced to seven years in prison stealing a silver spoon.

The British convict women in prison in Australia - employed in factories - faced extreme difficulty in achieving freedom, or respect. Many were regarded as prostitutes. The women in the ‘female factories’ who were either waiting for their assignment, pregnant, or undergoing punishment, were expected to work for free doing laundry, needlework, and chores in disgusting environments of filth, smells, and brutal cruelty with the very minimal basic needs provided.
AWFUL!!! INHUMAN!!!! The punishments were way beyond the petty crimes ( often completely innocent women).
You just had to cry...it was sooooo FU#KING WRONG....Sooooo SAD!!!!
It gets worse:
*Mathinna*, was an 8 year old indigenous Australian girl, (born Mary), -daughter of an Aboriginal Chief- was born on Flinders Island. Her family was captured by a British builder who was appointed chief protector of the Aborigines....
but then later she adopted governor of Tasmania ....( John Franklin and his wife Lady Jane). HER SOUL WAS RAPED....HER SPIRIT ABANDONED....
The way this young girl was treated was utterly obliterated—broken - shredded in pieces.....
This poor lonely girl, with only her pet possum, and a family necklace, was treated like a hollow showpiece -like a black princess of sorts - a laughter/display performer for the white family, and their community friends.
My god — the way this young girl was treated was SHAMEFUL!!!

....This book is extraordinary.....
....Painful to read at times....
....Yet....we get soooo invested in the characters: main and supporting characters.
....The history will haunt me ...[the penal colonies, the slave ship cruelties, the Aborigines mistreatments, the unfairness, the horrible hardships, brutal conditions, and racial discrimination]....
....I’m glad I read it....[the storytelling flow - development and pacing were top notch; the strength of the women were undeniable]....

Kudos to author Christina Baker Kline. She held my heart with her raw unapologetic exquisite intoxicating historical narrative storytelling.

Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,736 reviews14.1k followers
September 8, 2020
Compelling characters, vivid descriptions and a wonderful, heartbreaking story of courage and bravery. The 19th century and women accused of breaking crimes are sentenced to transport, headed for Australia. One for stealing a spoon, one betrayed by a son if the house accused if stealing a ring, it really didn't take much. We learn about the horrors of Newgate, the crude treatment on the ship, the details are extraordinary, impressive. Yet, these women, in some cases banded together, watched out for each other and fought for each other. Evangeline, Olive and Hazel., characters I will long remember.

In an alternate story we have the Franklins, John and Jane, and boy has my impression of them changed. John, appointed Governor of Van Diemans Land, their treatment of the aborigine and his wife's habit of taking a native child in and trying to civilize the child. Mathinna is one such child and we hear her story. Link to read more about her. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathi... Her story is heartbreaking but she is dropped from the story before books end which I found disconcerting. which is why I didn't give this novel five stars. The ending though, I loved. Perfect!

There is one very good man, a Doctor who will figure prominently and one very bad man among many others. Blended history, well told, about a time I knew little. Once again, massive unfairness, cruel treatment toward an original people and defenseless women.

The narrator is Caroline Lee and I found her delivery impressive.

ARC by Netgalley audio.
January 5, 2021
The Exiles explores a part of history I had no idea about. Christina Baker Kline brings us a well-researched powerful, emotional story that weaves history, real-life people, and fiction as she captures the hardship of four women set in 19 century Australia.

The story centers around three English female convicts being transported to a prison in Australia by boat and an orphaned Aboriginal girl Matthina. An English governor's wife takes her in out of curiosity to see if she can turn a savage into a proper lady.

It's all about the strong female characters here as we follow them as they struggle to leave behind their old lives and adapt to the new ones that are forced on them. There are many well-layered themes of social justice, oppression, survival quietly weaved into the beautiful story. At first, I struggled a bit with the story, and I needed to quiet my mind to focus on the themes. Once I shut the noise in my head, I was consumed with the journey of these unforgettable women. My heart broke for them with vivid details of the conditions they lived under, and at times I had to look away and let my mind skim over it. It's not all dark as there are themes of hope, friendship, motherhood, and loyalty.

The story explores social justice here for women, at a time in history when women were seen as "less than" and a society that was entitled to discriminate against indigenous people. We don't see much of Matthina's story, but she captured my heart and pulled at my heart strings with the way she was seen and treated.

The story takes a brave, bold, and sudden turn that left me thinking did that just happened, and I almost didn't believe it did. I had to go back and reread it, and Christina Baker Kline shows just how talented she is by pulling off that turn to the story.

It's inspiring stories like this that remind us how strong women were at a time when they were grounded by men and a society that viewed them as lesser. They faced fear and survival not by looking away but by facing it head-on. It's an empowering story that celebrates women's strength, courage, and resilience that we can carry over today. I highly recommend it.

I read this one with my reading sister Lindsay and you can find both reviews here


I received a copy from the publisher on EW.
Profile Image for Jen CAN.
486 reviews1,360 followers
January 24, 2021
I love when historical fiction takes me to remote places and teaches me history I was unaware of. When stories are fictional but based on reality, it can be shocking but satisfying when it’s well written and researched.
19th century Australia.
3 females whose lives are dramatically turned upside down. All ending up on Van Diemen's Island. Young Mathinna, an aboriginal, who is taken from her tribe to appease some English woman’s fantasy of taming a brute.
Evangeline, a young woman, seduced by her employer’s son, then framed for theft and is sent on a ship on the other side of the world to serve her time. Hazel, who is also a criminal for stealing a silver spoon for her mother and is banished too. A friendship emerges.
Women who are used, abused and deceived. Women who have courage and strength to survive after much darkness and pain. These lives become entwined to form lifelong relationships.

This is my first Baker Kline and I’m thrilled to know there are at least 2 other ones I own I get to indulge in.
Profile Image for Annette.
765 reviews339 followers
December 2, 2020
British Empire over the period of 80 years, 1788-1868, exiled more than 160,000 criminals to the penal colonies in Australia. The majority of convicts were transported for petty crimes. Approximately 1 in 7 convicts were women, which had an extremely tough life in Australia. “The guards who were volunteers seemed to be driven by exceptional sadism.”

Flinders Island, Australia, 1840. Mathinna (true character), eight-years-old, despite being a daughter of the chieftain, has been growing up living with a white teacher, learning English and adhering to British customs. “Her people had been exiled” to the Island of Flinders. Now, orphaned, she is taken to the governor’s house and is supposed to be taken to England with them.

London, 1840. Evangeline, governess, is accused of stealing a ring. Educated above her station, but not exposed to the world, which she learns the hard way. She is being sent to the penal colony in Australia to serve her sentence of fourteen years.

On a ship bound for Australia, Evangeline strikes a relationship with a sixteen-year-old Hazel of Scottish origin. Hazel’s poverty situation pushed her to stealing. At which she didn’t turn out to be skillful. Thus, ending up on a ship full of convicts. Hazel has knowledge of herbs and midwifery. Now, she brings her good skills into play.

The story beautifully weaves the sad history of the Palawa – the Aboriginal Tasmanians. Most of them were killed by British colonial power. And the remaining few were “forced into stiff British clothes” and made to “listen to sermons about a hell…”

It also brings a very sad part of brutal treatment of women convicts. Some convicts were employed by those who “drank, worked them to the bone, beat them.” Some got pregnant with babies they didn’t ask for.

Highly engrossing story from the very first pages. Interesting descriptions and dialogue constantly carry the story forward. With remarkable characters you deeply care for.
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
733 reviews1,779 followers
July 27, 2020
“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.”

Again, CBK has educated me on a piece of history I was unaware of... Britain’s colonization of Australia by the transporting of convicts and the “relocating” of the Aboriginal people. I felt every ounce of what these women felt through Klines mesmerizing storytelling. My only complaint with the story was that I wish Mathinna’s story had had more closure. I grew attached to her and hated that her story ended so abruptly. Still a wonderful educating novel that I highly recommend. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,317 reviews
October 16, 2020
5 haunting stars

This story is still haunting me a few days after I’ve finished it, I devoured it in just two sittings. One of my favorite things about good historical fiction is that I learn things and it helps put the world into context for me. One new item for me was learning there were transports of female criminals to Australia from England when I thought it was just men. A large chunk of this book chronicles one such transport from London to Van Diemen’s Land/Tasmania. It’s also very interesting to think about the legacy of these transports, both in terms of present-day residents of Australia and the aboriginals that were displaced. I also thought some of the prison terms were horrible, seven years for stealing a silver spoon!

The book opens with Mathinna (based on a real person), then a child and one of the few remaining aboriginals, and then alternates with Evangeline in London. Mathinna catches the eye of the wife of the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land and she decides that she must “have” Mathinna for her own. Mathinna is plucked away from her family and everything that is familiar to her.

Evangeline grew up sheltered by her father (a pastor) and his untimely death forces her to seek employment as a governess for a wealthy family. The older son in the family is captivated by Evangeline and you can guess what transpires. Naïve Evangeline is sent away to Newgate Prison for her transgressions and ultimately sentenced for transport. She befriends a few other female prisoners on the ship as well as the ship’s doctor, and it is evident that she will give birth at some point on the voyage.

This book was obviously well researched and is atmospheric, I felt like I was in the horrible prison conditions along with the women and on the ship for the long voyage. It is fascinating to think about how the island of Tasmania has developed as when the prisoners were finally released, they wanted to make a fresh start and build a new life.

This is my third book by this author, Christina Baker Kline, and she is firmly on my “favorites” list. I will anxiously await whatever she writes next and I want to read some of her older titles while I wait.

Fate seems to be telegraphing to me that I need to visit Tasmania (post COVID) as I’ve read all of these books recently set on the island: “Vanishing Falls”; “An Unusual Boy”; this one; and now “The Survivors.” I’m excited to discuss this one on BookBrowse.
December 1, 2020
I was aware of the penal colonies that Britain had established in Australia and the fact that Britain's criminals were sent there to work off their sentences. I, however, never thought that women criminals also were sent to work as servants and do other jobs to work off sentences imposed on them.

Ms Kline takes us there through her character of Evangeline, a young naive girl who is seduced and becomes pregnant by the youngest son of the affluent house she worked in. He pledges his admiration with a gift of a ring and it is this ring that causes her much grief as she is accused of stealing it by another household servant and later in anger she pushes the maid causing her to fall down the stairs. Luckily, the maid survives but now poor Evangeline is accused and convicted not only theft but also attempted murder which results in a fourteen year sentence in the penal colony.

She and others are put upon a ship and we are witness to the degradation, the cruelty and the inhuman treatment the prisoners receive. She meets and befriends another woman, Hazel, who is a healer and midwife. Hazel will go onto play an important role in the book.

Meanwhile we are introduced to Mathinna, an Aboriginal princess who has been taken in as a showpiece by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land and his family. She is trained to be a presentation piece by the family, one to show off at parties and such, one to show that the savages can be tamed.

This book is a magnificent look into a world of cruelty and desperation. The author paints for the reader vivid scenes of anguish and heartache. As Evangeline's child is born, Hazel makes a pledge to protect her and finds the strength and courage needed to succeed.

Definitely a strong recommendation for this book. Strong women face what seem like insurmountable odds when they overcome grief, misery, and sorrow to find a new world filled with the enticements of a new day and the eventual idea of freedom.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,023 reviews2,528 followers
November 3, 2020
Admittedly, this historical fiction starts off on a time worn trope - the governess seduced by the young master of the house. But once you get beyond that, it’s an appealing and informative work. Kline does a wonderful job of painting the different scenes, whether in Newcastle prison, the Madea or Australia. I felt like I could picture each of the various scenes.
The story is told from the perspective of three characters - Evangeline, the governess accused of theft; Hazel, a pickpocket and Mathinna, an Aboriginal young girl “adopted” by the wife of the governor of Van Dieman as a curiosity. The stories of all three will grab your heart, although Mathinna’s story will truly wrench it. This is a grim story and reminds us how difficult life was for those without means. I was disappointed that Mathinna’s story ended abruptly.
Like most, I understood that Australia was where England sent its convicts. But I had no idea how it played out in real life. Kline does a great job of showing us. She’s obviously done her research.
I listened to this and am not sure if the book didn’t have an author’s note or the audiobook didn’t include it. A shame, as i always love learning the facts behind the story.
Caroline Lee was the narrator and while some of her accents were spot on, others seemed to falter. Still, overall she did a fine job.
Profile Image for Marilyn.
805 reviews239 followers
October 11, 2020
Christina Baker Kline’s extraordinary, brilliant and vivid use of prose transported me to a time in history that I knew little about. The Exiles, through Christina Baker Kline’s powerful, and masterful story telling coupled with her impeccable research, wove a story about the ugliness of the English judicial system in the 1840’s. All the characters In The Exile were well developed, both the main characters and the secondary ones. The Exiles, like The Orphan Train and A Piece of the World, became another moving and powerful story, written in Christina Baker Kline’s familiar and winning style of writing, that resonated in my thoughts well beyond my completion of this book.

Women were commonly and unjustly charged for minor misdeeds and crimes in England during the 1840’s. With no one to defend them or stand up for them as witnesses, they were often and unjustly sentenced to seven to as many as fourteen years imprisonments. Most of these poor women were transported by slave ships to “the land beyond the seas”. During that time in England’s history, large groups of women that were sentenced by the courts were sent to Van Dieman’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. It was later renamed Tasmania. The Exiles was the story of three such women. These women’s circumstances, bonding and unfortunate fates they suffered were at times uplifting and at other times heartbreaking. Evangeline, Hazel and Olive were three such women. They were drawn to each other for no other reason that were in the same place at the same time. It was their fate to share the long three month sea journey under the worst conditions imaginable only to be delivered to a life they never could have imagined. Over that time their friendship, bravery, survival skills, resourcefulness, courage, perseverance and resilience would be tested over and over again.

The Exiles also explored how the British government saw and treated the Aboriginal people during the 1840’s. Members of the British government thought nothing of seizing their land from them by force or of relocating some of them forcibly. The British viewed the Aboriginal people as savages, untamed and uneducated. Mathinna, a young orphaned, eight year old girl, daughter of the chief of the Lowreenne tribe, was taken by the wife of the governor of Van Diemen’s Land. Lady Franklin regarded Mathinna as an experiment. Once Mathinna arrived at the governor’s and Lady Franklin’s home, Lady Franklin announced “ I am keen to observe the influence of civilization on this child.” Mathinna was treated no better than a stray dog taught to do and perform tricks.

The final main character that was introduced in The Exiles was Ruby. She was the daughter of a convict that had been delegated to penal transportation to Transmania. Her mother was only sixteen when she was sent to Australia. Ruby’s early childhood was one of turmoil and uncertainty. Ruby spent her infancy and some of her early years at the Queen’s Orphans School. Her treatment there was not kind and the conditions at the orphanage often led to sickness and even death. Despite all odds, Ruby was fortunate and her story was inspiring.

Inspired by a trip to Australia during graduate school and a book, The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding by Robert Hughes, gifted to her by her father, the seed was planted for The Exiles. I loved the Orphan Train and A Piece of the World and The Exiles was equally a favorite of mine. I learned so much about this time in history. The Exiles was a beautifully written historical novel that I would recommend highly.

Profile Image for Holly.
1,430 reviews984 followers
September 17, 2020
Well, this was a punch to the gut. Be prepared to be sad. And hopeful. And angry. And sad some more.

I listened to this on audiobook and I highly recommend that if you like audiobooks - there's a lot of accents in the characters of this book and even a little bit of singing and the narrator carries it all off seemingly effortlessly.

As for the plot of the book itself - it focuses on several women and what leads them to Australia under less than ideal circumstances to say the least. I didn't cry (it takes a lot to make me cry reading a book), but my jaw dropped in shock/horror/upset several times. Like I said, be prepared! But this was an eye-opening look into the real history of Australia, which is a country I visited but I am ashamed to say I had almost zero clue about despite having gone to the 'Old Melbourne Gaol'. Once you have finished reading this book, I highly suggest looking up information on Mathinna (a character in the book, but a real person - you can even see a painting of her).

If you read and only liked Orphan Train by this author - good news, this one is way better. (Sorry, I thought Molly's 'modern day' storyline in that book was kind of boring, and this book is completely set in the past which I think helped make it that much stronger).
Profile Image for Fiona Davis.
Author 14 books5,576 followers
June 11, 2020
The Exiles is truly a work for these times, about the abuse of power and how the voices of the less powerful will not be ignored. Original, meticulously researched, and perfectly crafted. One of the best books I've read all year.
Profile Image for Susan Meissner.
Author 35 books6,127 followers
September 14, 2020
Haven’t read a book this fast in a long time! Seriously couldn’t put it down. Compelling and immersive and expertly researched. The backdrop - the convict ships that made their way to Australia in the 1800s full of young women and even their little ones - was one I knew nothing about. Highly recommend and do read the author’s note a the end when you’re finished.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,347 reviews526 followers
February 12, 2023
Beyond my expectations! Caroline Lee brings this new release from Christina Baker Kline to life and the characters leap off the page. As with "The Orphan Train," a period of history is shown in technicolor with all its injustice all the more glaring as we watch the characters we have come to know and love suffer. Evangeline, Hazel, and Ruby show us the realities of the transport ships taking convicts to serve their time in the new settlements of Australia. Mathinna's story is parallel to that of Evangeline and Hazel, highlighting the ignorance and cruelty many showed to the Palawa people who were displaced and marginalized by the settlers. Although the setting is at times stark and hopeless, the women in this book support each other and utilize the resources in their past and present to overcome and thrive. An outstanding depiction of a slice of history I knew little about. Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Harper Audio and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Chris.
Author 35 books11.2k followers
August 3, 2021
Again, late on my review. But I loved Christina Baker Kline's latest -- out now in a beautiful paperback. The story of England's exile of female criminals who have committed very small crimes to Australia is wrenching and wonderful: strong women, so many surprises, and utterly fascinating history. It's a gem -- every page.
Profile Image for Bkwmlee.
384 reviews253 followers
August 17, 2020
5 stars!

Even though I’ve had most of Christina Baker Kline’s works (including her 2 most famous ones Orphan Train and A Piece of the World ) on my TBR for quite a while already, I’m sorry to say that I have not been able to explore her backlist as I’ve been intending to (mostly due to timing issues). Despite not having read her previous works (yet), that didn’t prevent me from jumping on the chance to read an advance copy of her latest historical novel, The Exiles (scheduled for release at the end of this month). I’m so glad I did, as this was such a brilliantly written masterpiece and definitely one of my favorites this year! I was so invested in the story and characters that I didn’t want to stop reading if I could help it, so I ended up finishing this in pretty much one sitting.

Set in the 1840s, the narrative revolves around the experiences of 3 ordinary women — Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinna — and the hardships they encounter in a society that doesn’t value them. Evangeline Stokes is the young educated daughter of a vicar who takes up a post as governess with a local English family the Whitstones after her father dies, only to be seduced by the young master of the house and sent away to prison after a string of false accusations (including pregnancy out of wedlock, stealing, and tempted murder) are levied against her. After a few months at the Newgate Prison in London, Evangeline is eventually sentenced to 14 years at Van Diemen’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. On the months-long journey there via a repurposed slave ship, Evangeline befriends a teenager named Hazel, a fellow prisoner who was sentenced to 7 years transport for stealing a spoon. Despite her young age, Hazel has lived a life of suffering— unloved by her alcoholic mother, she was forced at a young age to fend for herself and soon becomes adept at pickpocketing in order to survive. Hardened to life, Hazel soon figures out that the only way to make the transport bearable is to utilize her midwifery and herbalist skills (both of which she learned from observing her mother, who was a midwife) to help others in exchange for more favorable treatment. In a separate but related story arc, we meet Mathinna, the eight-year-old daughter of an Aboriginal chief, a native whose people were largely killed off when the British government colonized the Australian territory. Mathinna is “adopted” into the household of John Franklin, the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land, at the whim of his wife Lady Franklin, whose outward charity actually masks deeply rooted prejudices toward the natives. As such, Mathinna’s adoption is actually an “experiment” for Lady Franklin, who wants to prove to her friends and acquaintances that “wild savages” of Mathinna’s ilk can be “tamed” into propriety. As the 3 narratives intertwine, the women‘s lives eventually cross as well, but their fates follow markedly different paths.

When it comes to books, a “masterpiece” for me needs to encompass, at minimum, the following: a well-crafted story that flows effortlessly, beautiful writing, well-developed and unforgettable characters that I can’t help rooting for, emotional resonance, nearly flawless execution of story elements, and most importantly, it needs to either teach me something or make me reflect, whether about my own values / beliefs or those of the society in which we live. In this regard, The Exiles, with its heart-wrenching, powerful story so exquisitely told, definitely qualifies as a masterpiece. Prior to reading this, I knew very little about Britain’s colonization of Australia in the nineteenth century and even less about the history of female prisoners being transported overseas and assigned as free labor for mostly wealthy British families in the colony. It was gut-wrenching to read about how badly these women were treated, the brutal conditions they had to endure, and worse of all, how little their lives were valued in a society where blatant discrimination was the norm. Both Evangeline’s and Hazel’s stories were heart-wrenching and made me cry, but Mathinna’s story absolutely broke my heart – an adult having to deal with racial discrimination is difficult enough, but for an innocent child to have to endure what Mathinna did (which was essentially to be treated as the Franklin family pet – dressed up and shown off when they wanted some amusement, kicked aside and ignored when they grew tired of her), it honestly made me sick.

For me, the best historical fiction has the ability to seamlessly weave real historical details into a fictional story in a way that is powerful, transformative, and opens our eyes to the indignities in society as well as the world we live in. More importantly, in allowing the voices of the oppressed to be heard, it also serves as a much-needed reminder that, as a society, we need to do better. Christina Baker Kline is an amazing storyteller – not only was she able to weave an atmospheric and completely absorbing story (the strong sense of time and place absolutely made me feel transported into theses characters’ world), she also managed to make the story relevant to modern times and what we as a society are currently going through.

I love stories with strong female characters and this one had many -- Evangeline, Hazel, Mathinna, Olive, Maeve, Ruby, etc. – and also all of the unnamed female prisoners who were also an important part of the story. This was an enlightening read, albeit also a challenging one given that some parts of it for sure won’t be easy to stomach, but overall a necessary read that I absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend!

Received ARC from William Morrow (HarperCollins) via NetGalley and Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Melissa (Catch Up Mode).
4,568 reviews1,875 followers
December 30, 2020
Kline has yet again crafted a unique story that transports the reader to another time and place. Parts of this tale are ultimately triumphant and uplifting, and other parts are just utterly heartbreaking.
I listened to this as an audio book and the narrator does an amazing job giving voice to these characters. There are surprises and shocks throughout, but overall it is just a well told tale of life of female convicts and others in 1800s Australia.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,761 reviews1,218 followers
July 26, 2022
I won an Advanced Readers’ edition paperback copy of this book at LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you to LibraryThing and to the publisher William Morrow!) I received it more promptly than I’d expected on 7/16. I read it from 7/19-7/23 early morning hours. Publication date is scheduled to be on 8/25. It was fun reading this book in advance of publication. It was gratifying reading a paper edition of a book given that I’ve been mostly reading e-editions during the last several months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I enter to win only books I think I’ll like well enough to assign 5 or 4 stars. I’d read this author’s book Orphan Train and gave it 4-1/2 stars. I think I loved this book even more than I loved that one and I really liked that one too. This book did not disappoint!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Beautifully written and brilliantly told. I grew attached to many of the characters, especially to the three main spirited girls/women and to one particular man, but to many others too. The book was a page turner and hard to put down. I did stay up into the early morning hours to finish it.

It was frequently grueling and grim reading but thankfully there was always a lot of heart and also some wonderful, diverting, clever, and profound humor. The many tragedies and injustices were painful to read about/witness but everything seemed completely realistic and I don’t think there were any gratuitous inclusions. There was also a lot that was inspirational and that did effectively counter the often harrowing stories. I appreciated the life affirming and hopeful parts. Everything felt realistic. Heartbreaking and heartwarming.

I did some research as I read, especially because I was curious and when I first started looking up things it was apparent that much about this book is not fiction but non-fiction. Many of the characters were real people and many places and events in the book really happened. The author did an amazing job at making the characters and their circumstances and places come vividly alive. I definitely want to learn more about the history of Tasmania and prison ships and prisons on both sides of the Atlantic and a lot more about the peoples at that time and about the places that appear in the book. I want to read more about the treatment of the Australian-Tasmanian aborigines by the British and others. I have read other books and seen films about these subjects but I want to know even more than I do, especially now that I’ve read this book.

The three main characters are memorable and how their lives converge is wonderfully done. Some of what happened I suppose is predictable but some is definitely not.

Part way through the book there is a shocking and completely unexpected occurrence I’d never have guessed was coming! Because of that I'd advise reading this book before reading reviews with spoilers, detailed descriptions, and certainly plot summaries or much about the book's characters. It's kind of brilliant that the author did what she did. It’s impressive storytelling because it felt so out of the norm.

I enjoyed the different voices in chapters & sections. I loved every part of it, even though much of it made for painful reading.

I loved the ending, and I loved the beginning, and all of it. The narrative all the way through was perfectly constructed & told, in my opinion.

I also appreciated the thorough and superb Acknowledgments section by the author at the end of the book that lists books the author read to write this book and also her inspirations for writing this book and some of her previous books including the Orphan Train book,. I found it rewarding to read a bit about the rigorous research she did for this book and some of which contents were non-fiction, what was fiction, and what was partly or mostly true but tweaked for creating this historical fiction novel.

There are many quotes that I loved but because I read an ARC I can’t be certain that the exact language will stay the same so I didn’t add any quotes to the quotes section. Here are just a few that I liked:

“Holding up the cut end of a log, he showed her the rings inside, explaining that each one marked a year…Maybe humans are like that…Maybe the moments that meant something to you and the people you’ve loved over the years are the rings. Maybe what you thought you’d lost is still there, inside of you, giving you strength to carry on.”

“…that if you love something it stays with you, even after it’s gone.”

“Never again would she describe something as unbearable. Almost anything, she now knew, could be borne.”

“…past half a dozen rooms that appeared both overstuffed and strangely empty.”

“Over time, she grew deeply angry. It was the only emotion she allowed herself to feel. Her anger was a carapace; it protected her soft insides like the shell of a snail.”

Highly recommended for almost all fans of historical fiction books! I also want to say that there is so much about this story that is applicable to our current circumstances. This would make a fine book club book because it’s a great discussion book.
Profile Image for Loretta.
306 reviews157 followers
September 26, 2020
I went into this book thinking about how much I enjoyed the author’s book Orphan Train and hoping that I would be blown away again. Sadly I wasn’t blown away at all.
Shame on me for not remembering A Piece of the World which I read with the same expectations and sadly I wasn’t blown away by it either.

I don’t necessarily like books that have multiple stories that intertwine characters and plots unless the book moves along. The Exiles started out quite nicely but then, for this reader, it petered out. I knew exactly how the book would end and I wasn’t wrong.

I’m not sure if I’ll be reading this author again because, just like in music, the Orphan Train was her “one hit” wonder.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,743 reviews2,267 followers
March 23, 2021

4.5 Stars

A story centered around the lives of three young women whose lives took drastic turns. This begins on Flinders Island, Australia in 1840, with eight year-old Mathinna hiding in the bush in Wybalenna, where her people had been exiled. It is also where Governor John Franklin, and his wife, Lady Jane, come to visit - along with their servants, of course - and decide that they would like to bring
Mathinna home, ostensibly to instruct her in their more ‘civilized’ lifestyle. They acquire her as one would a trinket, a souvenir to show her off to their friends. Mathinna has no say in this, of course, and is whisked away to a new life, a new land. The Governor and his wife believe she should be grateful for this gesture, with no concerns as to whether or not it is something she desires. They give no thought or care to the fact that she must leave behind her tribe, her family. Her father had been the chief of the Lowreenne tribe, although he had died when she was too young to really remember much. She had been taught by her teacher to read and write, and to eat using proper utensils and Lady Jane thought she could dress her up and show her off to their friends as entertainment - a ’savage’ turned into a ’respectable citizen’.

Evangeline enters this story next, a 21-year-old orphan who is under the illusion that the eldest son of her employer has more than fleeting romantic intentions for their relationship. He has recently left for Venice and has left her with a ruby ring wrapped in his monogrammed handkerchief, and another ‘gift’ which will make an appearance in several months. When the ring is found in her room, she is accused of stealing it, and is sent to Newgate prison.

’Her father wanted to insulate her, to shelter her from harm, and in doing so he denied her the inoculation required to survive. She could name the seven continents and identify the constellations, but she knew little, in a practical sense, about the world beyond her door.’

Hazel, a 16-year-old girl from Glasgow enters next, following her attempted theft of a silver spoon.
She will meet Evangeline as they both end up on a ship set to deliver them, after a four month-long journey, to the convict colony in Tasmania where they will serve their sentences. Fortunately, Hazel’s knowledge of the skills of midwifery and healing will come in handy, as she eventually assists the ship’s surgeon, and Envangeline will help Hazel by teaching her how to read. Once they arrive, however, the Cascades Female Factory awaits, a penal colony where they are destined to serve out their sentences.

This is shared so vividly that it is easy to envision this story, and to feel it all, it is clear that Christina Baker Kline clearly spent many hours, days, months, years researching, and then putting this story together so that it flows seamlessly. It is occasionally gut-wrenching to see and feel these lives interrupted, these women treated as though they are insignificant, and not deserving of basic common decency.

But this story is not without love, even though love has cost them so much in their lives so far, there are moments of love and beauty, sharing a sense of absolution and the saving grace of love in Ruby. Ruby bonds them all in a sacred love they all share for her, she is their redeemer. She allows them to see life through her young eyes, innocent, and for them to be strong enough to protect her from the truth of the ways of the world.

Life is filled with tragedy. One after another it seems of late, and yet there is also evidence of love. This story shares that same sense of tragedy, but also of love being the saving grace through difficult times, and throughout time. It is both a story of another time, and relevant for every era, including ours.

’The Exiles’ will be adapted by Made Up Stories for television series, and I can’t wait to see this story and these characters brought to life!

Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book!
Profile Image for Corina.
759 reviews2,128 followers
October 10, 2020
The Exiles is a MUST READ for any historical fiction lover. It’s educational, based on real events, heart achingly beautiful, brilliantly written and it will make your heart break.

The book focuses on a time when Britain’s government shipped convicts to Australia to be rid off them. It was almost like ship them off, and forget they ever existed.

And the book did not pull any punches.

Before going into the book I knew a little bit about the events. But nothing prepared me for this book. It was eyeopening, educational, and heartbreaking. The past wasn’t nice to women. And the way convicts were treated bordered on inhuman at times. Especially the conditions in which the convicts were transported and later had to live out their sentences. It broke my heart to hear about mothers and daughters being separated. Not surprising they had little to say. And of course the word of a convict meant nothing.

The arc about Mathinna is actually based on a real person. And if you google her name you can see the portrait that is mentioned in the book and read more about her life. It was shocking to read about the way she was treated and shown off. Like an exotic animal.

In the end, this is a book that won’t let you go anytime soon. It will stay with you. And make you think.

I’m not going to lie, there were parts that I was dreading. But on the other hand, I feel we need to read these kind of books. They are a reminder of all the times when humanity showed its ugly side.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.

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