Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Exiles: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline







"Master storyteller Christina Baker Kline is at her best in this epic yet intimate tale of nineteenth-century Australia. I loved this book." —Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin 
The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel that captures the hardship, oppression, opportunity and hope of a trio of women’s lives—two English convicts and an orphaned Aboriginal girl — in nineteenth-century Australia.
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Seduced by her employer’s son, Evangeline, a na├»ve 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.

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About The Author






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. 


Website


My Review





A book that captured my attention and kept me riveted right to the end, a read that you need to expect the unexpected.
Living in England in the 1800's was not an easy time, seems like the littlest offense and you ended up in the Jail, or the famous Newgate prison.
The author has us traveling with these poor woman, on a prison ship to the then country of Australia, which was know as the "Prison Colony", but the mistreatment and life of these poor people was atrocious.
While in Australia, we are with some of the same women we met on the ship, but we also meet a young aboriginal orphan, and see what happens to her as she is more or less being made into a pet.
This is a story that will linger with you, and I found myself rooting for revenge, but there is so much going on here.
A book you really don't want to miss, it is that good!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher William Morrow and was not required to give a positive review.

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