Sunday, May 8, 2022

The Duchess of Sydney by Dawn Knox


Betrayed by her family and convicted of a crime she did not commit, Georgiana is sent halfway around the world to the penal colony of Sydney, New South Wales. Aboard the transport ship, the Lady Amelia, Lieutenant Francis Brooks, the ship’s agent becomes her protector, taking her as his “sea-wife”, not because he has any interest in her but because he has been tasked with the duty.

Despite their mutual distrust, the attraction between them grows. But life has not played fair with Georgiana. She is bound by family secrets and lies. Will she ever be free again – free to be herself and free to love?


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I read this when it first came out as a pocket novel, and I enjoyed it so much I swallowed it in one sitting! Having read some of her other books too, I can say that one thing you can be sure of with Dawn Knox is that her writing is really well researched. I have never been to Australia, but I got a real sense of heat and dust, and also the sense of abandonment, mingled with independence, that the protagonist feels as she tries to make her way in a strange country. Dawn's writing makes you feel as if you're right there with the characters. I didn't know this book was the start of a series, but I'm really excited to read the next one. Loved it. 


The story grabs you from the first chapter, and then whirls you along through the emotional storms and calms of a sea voyage to Australia. The vulnerability of an innocent girl prisoner is only matched by her determination to survive, in a world vibrating with authentic detail of life on board a prisoner transport. The twists come thick and fast as they reach New South Wales and the story ricochets between Sydney, London and China.


As an Aussie by birth from Sydney, the title grabbed me immediately. I read it with a critical eye and was pleasantly surprised that this historical author had, unlike many, done her homework. The settings were captivating, the characters engaging and the plot flowed well, with quite a few surprises. I learnt quite a bit about those times of transportation of convicts too. More importantly was the romance which felt as though you were there sharing their adventures and trials. Thoroughly recommended for all lovers of a fine story..  

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