The Rajah sails for Australia.
On board are 180 women convicted of petty crimes, sentenced to start a new life half way across the world.
Daughters, sisters, mothers – they’ll never see home or family again. Despised and damned, all they have now is each other.
Until the murder.
As the fearful hunt for a killer begins, everyone on board is a suspect.
The investigation risks tearing their friendships apart . . .
But if the killer isn’t found, could it cost them their last chance of freedom?
What a wonderfully written book. It’s a murder mystery, and it’s set on a ship but on a ship of women convicts headed for Australia and well, I mean, how many books have you read like that?
The creativity drew me in immediately, taking a true event and making it into a book that one can really get lost in. The women are leaving everything behind and then on top of that one of them is murdered and suddenly they’re all facing a worse fate than exile from England; a noose.
The matron is such a wonderfully written character. A young woman who didn’t want the norm, but was not so outside of it that she was unbelievable for her station and place in life in personality and status. She chose to want to help others, to seek a new life when nothing at home seemed to be the right fit.
There are a few convict women we get to know, their stories each unique and yet such a common occurrence that it really makes you stop and think.
The murder itself is a more than decent mystery take, but the story’s focus is the women above all and I think that’s what made it such a great read for me.
The writing style is easy and languid, making it feel like nothing to pick up and read handfuls of chapters at a time. Everything flowed together and it was a story of faith, trust, and new beginnings in the face of adversity for women punished harsher than perhaps they should have been.
Thanks so much to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion. This book is now out on shelves!