Book review: Behind the Sun

A compelling story of four women who forge an unlikely but enduring friendship.
A compelling story of four women who forge an unlikely but enduring friendship.

BOOK: Behind the Sun
AUTHOR: Deborah Challinor
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins Publishers Aust
RRP: $29.99

THIS is the first book in a new historical series by New Zealand historian and author Deborah Challinor.

It relates the compelling story of four women who forge an unlikely and enduring friendship while confined in Newgate Prison, awaiting transportation to New South Wales.

The undeclared leader of the group is Friday Woolfe, a feisty and streetwise prostitute.

The other members of her band include Sarah Morgan, a clever and deft professional thief, capable and kindly seamstress, Harriet Clarke and the young and guileless Rachel Winter.

The voyage to the new colony presents the group with new challenges, apart from mere survival.

While conditions on board during the 1820s are generally a little better than those endured in Newgate, there are other ordeals to be endured.

Rachel's naiveté makes her an ideal target for the vicious and unscrupulous Bella Jackson who establishes a thriving prostitution racket during the voyage.

Eventually Rachel is seriously assaulted, with Bella party to the attack.

Upon arrival in the colony, the women are transferred to Parramatta Female Factory, where they face the threat of separation as each is assigned to domestic positions within the colony.

This engaging group of characters will captivate readers.

Ms Challinor's research enhances her characterisation and provides a wonderful backdrop for this narrative that seamlessly fuses historical fact and engrossing fiction.

The next instalment will be eagerly anticipated!

Topics:  book review

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Circa's new performance is a Peepshow

SHOW: Peepshow will premiere on the Northern Rivers.

The new production will have a Northern Rivers world premiere

Be the first to see controversial animated children's film

FURRY FRIENDS: Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki), Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Benjamin, Bea (Rose Byrne), Peter Rabbit (James Corden) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) in Columbia Pictures' PETER RABBIT.

Advanced screening of Peter Rabbit in Lismore this weekend

Rosanna has designs on female taboo

Artist Rosanna Pimm uses 3500 porcelain tampons to created her large scale performance installation  Riots of Passage in The Quad  as part of The Lismore Women's Festival on International Women's Day. Laying down and de-constructing the mandala structure symbolises the impermanence of the menstrual cycle and an end to female inequality in the world.

Rosanna has designs on female taboo

Local Partners