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Garnet Perry arrived in New South Wales in 1830 to be the bride of Edward Landis. She had never met Mr. Landis, and had only emigrated because there was nothing else she could do. Her father had died in debt, and her stepmother wanted Garnet out of the way, so that her own daughter could shine. So her stepmother had written to her cousin, Mr. Landis, who promptly offered marriage to Garnet. When she arrived, she realized that marriage to Landis was not what she had thought it would be, but she was now trapped.
Jeremiah Gold was a settler, with his own selection land upon which he was building his home and farm. In Sydney Town one day to purchase supplies, he happened upon an impromptu auction at which Landis was selling Garnet! To save her from rape or worse, he bought her for ten guineas, and took her to his selection to be his wife. Life never runs smooth, however, and Gold begins to wonder if his kind heart has put him into more trouble than heís ever had in his life!
I have always been fascinated by the history of Australia, and this novel really brought to life the early years of settlement. Ms. Odgers paints the life of a settler in vivid color, and with careful attention to detail. The plot is nicely done and is fast-paced, with plenty of action. I started reading this about 8:30 pm one night, and didnít stop until Iíd finished it two hours later Ė it was that hard to put down. The characters of Garnet and Jeremiah are interesting and realistic, and the authorís skill in characterization and dialog are demonstrated by scenes in which they interact, which fairly leap from the page. I felt particularly empathetic with the character of Garnet, who finds it difficult to believe that her life has come to this farm in the bush. The love scenes are sensual rather than explicit, but fit perfectly into the narrative, making it a seamless whole. This has to be one of the best books Iíve read this year. If you like historical novels, I highly recommend this book!
Reviewed by: Jean