This book kept me company as we travelled across the US and Canada in December/January (it’s pictured here on the on Chattanooga’s Walnut Street Bridge on the Tennessee River) – and it was wonderful company! The story was really easy to get into, which made it perfect reading for those times when I had to read in brief chunks – it was easy to get back into the story and I never felt like I lost track of where I was up to.
It has a lot of the things I am loving in books at the moment – strong women, alternating POVs/stories that come together, and an historical Australian setting. One of the things that I thought Fraser did exceptionally well in this book was to put women back in the story of the goldfields. She really shows the importance of women in that time and place, and the variety of roles that they took – from laundry women like Nell and her friend Flora, to women panning for gold themselves, running the homes, or providing food, lodgings, or entertainment for the men. It was fantastic to see this aspect feature so strongly in the story, since women are so often written out of these space in history.
As a fan of Australian historical fiction I’m looking forward to seeing what Fraser writes next!
I received a copy of The Widow of Ballarat from HQ Fiction (Harper Collins). All views are my own.