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Audiobooks Behind the Sun (Convict Girls #1) Author Deborah Challinor –

Written for WAM book with another beautiful cover, however this one did not intrigue me in the slightest To me it looked a little bit too much like a romance, a bodice ripper Oh I could not have beenwrong It s historical fiction and if only we were taught history like this Deborah Challinor has the qualifications, with a PhD in History, andimportantly she has the soul of a storyteller.Behind the Sun draws on threads of history and weaves them into a tale of four girls Friday, Sarah, Harrie and Rachel Though sometimes it s hard to remember that they are just girls, all under twenty, from different backgrounds, and by one means or another they find themselves bound for the Colony They strike up a friendship before they leave Newgate Prison and you can almost feel the misery seeping through the lines The desperation, frustration and acceptance of what they did, why they did it and the consequences I want to tell youbut I don t want to give it away It is a tale of enduring friendship, just like the dust jacket promises, and it does bring to light the predicament of women convicts How they fared through the months in prison, the boat journey to Australia and then the conditions they lived in and with You could get bogged down in those details or feel like you re being lectured, however it doesn t read that way apart from a few medical ailments recorded on the ship Instead you have the gift of this friendship and four distinct personalities that rise above it, and because of it, survive.And the story doesn t end there It s a trilogy and I can t wait to read what happens next Behind the Sun is a heart wrenching story about 4 women who are convicted of petty crimes and sentenced to be transported to Colonial NSW, Australia All 4 women form fast friendships and soon come to rely on each other as family.The arduous 4 month long sea voyage from London to Australia is fraught with peril and unspeakable acts of violence, depravity and hardship but also colossal acts of kindness, friendship and love.This beautiful and heart wrenching tale shines a light on what life was like for the less fortunate and the depths to which the human spirit can survive, strive and thrive I will definitely be continuing on with this series. Four Women On A Perilous Journey To A New World, Can Rely Only On Their Wits To Survive And Each Other Irreverent And Streetwise Prostitute Friday Woolfe Is In London S Notorious Newgate Gaol, Awaiting Transportation There, She Meets Three Other Girls Intelligent And Opportunistic Thief, Sarah Morgan, Naive Young Rachel Winter, And Reliable And Capable Seamstress, Harriet Clarke On The Voyage To New South Wales Their Friendship Becomes An Unbreakable Bond But There Are Others On Board Who Will Change Their Lives Forever Friday Makes An Implacable Enemy Of Bella Jackson, A Vicious Woman Whose Power Seems Undiminished By Her Arrest And Transportation, While Harriet Is Taken Under The Wing Of An Idealistic Doctor, James Downey Rachel Catches The Eye Of A Sinister Passenger With Than Honour On His Mind When They Finally Arrive On The Other Side Of The World, They Are Confined To The Grim And Overcrowded Parramatta Female Factory But Worse Is To Come As The Threat Of Separation Looms In The Land Behind The Sun, The Only Thing They Have Is Each Other 3.5 I enjoyed this I listened to it as an audiobook and thought the narrator did a good job of the different voices I liked the characters Friday, Sarah, Harry Harriet and Rachael and I liked that it was partly set on the tall ship on which the women sailed to the penal colony of New South Wales I felt sorry for their situation at times and will look forward to reading the next one I think the second one will follow on very closely from this one, and it will be important to remember what happened in this one For this reason, I am including multiple major spoilers in the tag below, so that I can check back to remind myself of what happened whenever I get around to reading the next one So for anyone who hasn t read this book DO NOT read the spoiler below view spoiler On board the Isla not sure about spelling, since I listened to the book , Rachael gets drawn into the sticky web of fellow convict, Bella Jackson, to whom she owes a favour Bella operates a shipboard brothel servicing the sailors and the paying passengers Rachael is not working for Bella and is not a whore, but Bella offers up Rachael s services as a whore to one of the paying passengers, Gabriel Keegan, telling Rachael that he is interested in paying somebody to do his laundry so that she will go along to his cabin willingly He rapes and injures her, mentally as well as physically A little later, Rachael confronts Keegan, who pushes her from one deck to the next, causing further horrific injuries which the ship s surgeon, Dr Downie, was surprised didn t kill her Shortly after this, the Isla docks in Sydney, the women arrive at Parramatta Female Factory and are duly assigned to employers Rachael is not mentally sound enough to be assigned, and she remains at the factory As a result of the rape, she falls pregnant and after 9 months of mental anguish and severe headaches only relieved by laudanum, dies in childbirth After Keegan s attack, Rachael had been cared for by Friday, Sarah and Harry, all of whom had vowed to make Keegan pay for the misery that he made Rachael s life After her death, they follow Keegan, lure him into an alleyway and beat him to death Unfortunately, somehow Bella Jackson now married and therefore assigned to her husband becomes aware that the three of them have killed him, so she has a hold over them which she will be sure to call in in the next book The ship s surgeon liked Harry, although she was very upset when he told her that he carried out an autopsy on Rachael s body, so that may not go anywhere Another of the paying passengers, Matthew Cutler, also liked Harry, so perhaps that will produce some results hide spoiler Deborah Challinor and I shared a stage at the Historical Novel Society Australasian conference in Melbourne a few years ago, and so I was keen to read some of her work She s a New Zealand author and historian who has written over a dozen books, quite a few of them set in Australia Behind the Sun is the first in a quartet following the adventures of four young women in the 1820s who are all convicted of various crimes and transported halfway around the world to the convict settlement of Sydney.There is Friday Woolfe, a cheeky and irreverent prostitute, Sarah Morgan, a cool and intelligent thief, Rachel Winter, young and beautiful and far too na ve, and Harriet Clarke, a seamstress who stole some cloth in the hopes of saving her family from starvation Moving from the filth of Newgate Prison, to the hardships of the notorious convict ships, and arriving at last in Sydney, the four women find their friendship and courage tested to the limits Written with verve and zest, Behind the Sun has bright moments of humour and warmth and some very dark moments of cruelty and loss The story races along at a cracking pace, but not once is historical veracity or vibrancy sacrificed for narrative momentum A really great holiday read with some truly unforgettable characters. 5 stars, simply for the fact that I could not put this down While I found some of it rather difficult to read, it was with the understanding that the early part of the 1800s in England and Sydney was a difficult time, without many of the benefits that we have now The story built up nicely, to something that approximated a climax, which left me a little shocked There was not much of a resolution, and then the author was a little mean leaving the book to finish on a cliffhanger I quite enjoyed the descriptions of early Sydney, and I think I will have to read the next in the series. Inspired by the lives of Deborah Challinor s ancestors, Behind the Sun is the first installment of a historical fiction series featuring four convict women transported from England to New South Wales in the late 1920 s Incarcerated in Newgate goal, Friday Woolfe, a streetwise prostitute, befriends Harriet Clarke, a timid seamstress, the prickly thief Sarah Morgan and the young and desperately naive Rachel Winter The unlikely foursome form a bond that supports them through the trials of imprisonment, the long journey to Australia and the unknown fate that awaits them in Sydneytown.I have always been fascinated with this period of Australian history and particularly enjoyed Behind the Sun for it s historical detail Challinor holds a PhD in history and the novel reflects her knowledge, though she admits to tweaking a fact or two to better tell the story The novel begins in England where we are introduced to the women and their crimes All stand accused of theft of some type and are incarcerated in London s notorious Newgate Goal awaiting sentence It is Friday and Harriet who first find each other, shortly joined by Sarah and Rachel Their disparate personalities create an interesting dynamic whose strengths and weaknesses all contribute to their survival Friday is afraid of nothing, Harriet is calm and practical, Sarah is clever and calculating and surprisingly Rachel, who claims to be 15 but is only 13, turns out to be quite the card shark, growing the funds the women need to buy meagre comforts within prison.Much of the novel focuses on the journey to Australia where one hundred and fifty women were crowded onto a ship for the 7 month sail Life aboard the ship is difficult though the women find their own ways to endure, Harriet becomes an assistant to the ship s doctor, Friday continues to ply her trade with the ship s crew Rachel however falls victim to Bella Jackson, a notorious and ruthless madam, whose manipulations results in tragedy for Rachel, leaving her friends swearing to take their revenge Arriving in Sydney the women are taken to the Parramatta Female Factory before being re assigned Despite being separated the women continue to support each other, especially when tragedy strikes again With strong characterisation, Behind the Sun is a fascinating exploration of women s history in Australia and an enjoyable read I Challinor plans to follow up Behind the Sun with Girl of Shadows expected in 2013 and I am looking forward to readingabout the women s adventures in SydneyTown. 4.5 starsI ve long been drawn to Australian historical novels and never tire of reading them Author Deborah Challinor is a new find for me This is the first book of hers I read and I couldn t put it down The writing was excellent, she knew exactly when to move from one character to another without missing a beat The characters were all very different and interesting as was everything else I eagerly look forward to reading 2 in the Convict Girls series. 5 What a happy, well written discovery this was I loved it Deborah Challinor has created four real women, very different from each other, who become as bound together as family while imprisoned in Newgate and then transported to Sydney Not once did I notice a word or description that seemed out of time or place, as so often happens with poor historical fiction It all rang true, and there s even a fairly extensive discussion of the real history of the times following the end of the story.It s tender, dark, uplifting, infuriating, mysterious, and ultimately, satisfying Conditions in Newgate Prison are described to the point that you gag at the stench in the cramped quarters and the putrid water closets, made worse by the diet of fart inducing gruel It opensNovember 1828, LondonFriday Woolfe blew warm air onto freezing hands in fingerless gloves Fog hung heavy over the street, deadening shouts and laughter from the nearby taverns and making a small yellow moon of the solitary gas light on the corner It felt like it might soon snow Feels like that cold s creeping straight up my fanny, Bets, she grumbled to her friend.Betsy Horrocks, her hands jammed into her armpits, stepped back and inclined her head It is Your skirts are all caught up at the back They giggled madly as Friday reached around and rearranged her clothing that s teach her to squat in alleyways She adjusted the angle of her straw hat with its silk rose, though she d left her hair unbound as its bright copper colour never failed to attract the cullies The reality of leaving families and everything they ve ever known hits suddenly as they wait on board the ship, waiting to sail They sleep crammed together in small bunks, and survive the doldrums and some horrific weather before finally arriving at Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta Female Factory and prison.The story moves along at a good pace with alternating points of view, telling all of their stories They are very distinct girls, so it is always pretty easy to know who s speaking There s the red haired 18yo whore the raven haired, scarred and slightly scary pick pocket and jewel expert a gentler, seamstress lass with nut brown hair and a very fair, almost white haired, ethereal child woman Circumstances alone have created these unlikely, unbreakable friendships.There are some evil characters and rough and ready folk waiting to take advantage of everyone, especially young women They were rough times, and the author makes sure we experience the bitterness of the English winter and the breathless heat of a Sydney summer.This book leaves the friends and their enemies in their various situations in Sydney, but with the promise ofto come I m looking forward to the next two in the series. Loved it, great read This book was absolutely jam packed with story and plotin fact several stories which all flowed seamlessly together and combined to make the overall story evencredible Great characters with individually complex personalities kept the story flowing from one to the other without losing pace or interest.It gives some terrific insight into what it must have been like for female convicts before, during and after their transportation on a convict ship from the UK to the Coloniesincredible women.Every single page held interest and intrigue, making it a real page turner.I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am really looking forward to the follow up book called Girl of Shadows which continues the story, and which I understand is due out soonhopefully a Christmas present.I wouldn t hesitate to recommend this book to lovers of Historical Fiction or Fiction in general 4.5 s.