A review by Emma Streeton
When Elsa Goody’s father and brother George die in quick succession, she and her sister Rosie are in trouble. Pursued by an unpleasant suitor with dubious motivation, Elsa leaves for Victoria on the hunt for a fortune in gold coins that her brother has hidden. If Elsa can find it she will be able to save Rosie and herself from married slavery.
Their quest leads them on a cross-country journey to find the last man who saw her brother alive, Ezekiel Jones. But Elsa is not the only one looking for buried treasure. She and Rosie are beset by bushrangers and in the confusion Elsa is accused of being an accomplice. Luckily not everyone believes that Elsa is a criminal. When she finally catches up with Ezekiel, it’s clear that, for him, she can do no wrong.
But with everyone chasing her and bloody violence on the horizon, life is becoming increasingly complicated. Will she and Rosie ever manage to solve the mystery, find the gold and free themselves from a dark future?
Elsa Goody, Bushranger is a story of strong, independent and feisty women in a time when this was not the standard. Protagonist Elsa Goody is the star of this story. She is fierce and determined but also caring, thoughtful and honest. She is a character that gets under your skin in a good way. I loved her resolve to be the first woman to vote in her town. She is a woman who wants to make her mark and in this novel she most definitely does. Supporting Elsa is a great cast of other colorful characters. Together they take the reader on what can only be described as a fast paced outback adventure.
This novel was a far more interesting read than I expected it to be. It takes readers back to the end of the 19th century, to difficult times in rural Australia when hardship came in the form of illness and scarcity. Well-paced, full of action and tension, Elsa Goody‘s storyline quickly engaged me. Our heroine Elsa’s romance was somewhat predictable but this did not detract from the overall enjoyability of the book.
Elsa Goody, Bushranger is a great historical fiction novel which I have no hesitation in recommending. Absolutely perfect for fans of Australian historical romantic fiction.
Ex-pat Brit Emma’s reading equals a crash-course in Australian history. – Editor
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Imprint: Mira – AU (HarperCollins Australia)
Format: paperback, 432 pages
Category: FICTION / Romance / Historical / General