Sharon L Norris's Reviews > Ghost Gum Valley

Ghost Gum Valley by Johanna Nicholls
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bookshelves: historical

Johanna Nicholls' Australian historical saga is rich with description of life in 1830s Australia.

With the country just notching up its half-century as a colony of England, and still the dumping ground for English criminals, 'Ghost Gum Valley' charts the complex relationship that binds English aristocrat Isabel de Rolland and the Currency Lad son of a former de Rolland servant, Marmaduke Gamble.

At over 530 pages, the story is long but does justice to the saga that unfolds. Isabel leaves her creepy ancestral home and clinging cousin Silas for the sweeping New South Wales countryside and the rollicking Sydney Town for an arranged marriage with the card-carrying libertine Marmaduke, who has sworn to love no woman and is busy bedding as many of the ladies in the Top Thirteen families as he can. But in order to inherit his beloved mother's family property, Mingaletta, Marmaduke is forced to enter into marriage with eighteen year old Isabel.

The saga brings many skeletons out of the de Rolland/Gamble closets, including including child abuse, deep trauma, murder, a child born 'on the wrong side of the blanket', false accusations leading to criminal conviction and transportation, and illicit sex. As the story unfolds there are further elements of physical violence, cruelty, human slavery under the guise of penal colony punishment, abuse and death.

Within this context, 'Ghost Gum Valley' is both a good read and a good historical romance set in a time in our history when life was not as simple as it is now, and women were treated with much less respect.

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Reading Progress

August 21, 2013 – Started Reading
August 21, 2013 – Shelved
August 29, 2013 – Finished Reading
September 1, 2013 – Shelved as: historical

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