Tuesday, October 18, 2011
"Mary's Guardian" by Carol Preston
This book is a must-read for any Aussie who has enjoyed reading the abundance of American historical, frontier-style fiction available on our market. There is nowhere near as much authentic Australian material and truly needs to be, as the history of our Great Southland is equally rich and colourful. Carol Preston has taken upon herself the job of researching her family tree in early settler times to bring us an awesome story based on true people and facts.
Written as a fictionalised account, we get to share first-hand the gruelling journey aboard a convict ship, the challenge of setting up subsistence living in a land which is hotter and harsher than anything anybody had imagined and the heartache of losing beloved babies in a time of scanty medical development. The wonderful descriptions of our wide, sunburned land can only have been written by an Aussie who lives here and knows what she is talking about.
Her characters are the lovable type who I find can't help rubbing off on our own attitudes and making us better people. The hero, William Douglass' staunch optimism has an input on his fellow characters from the 1700s and modern readers alike. His sweetheart and later wife, Mary, is so easy to relate to and understand that we can't help loving her. I appreciated it that her emotional ups and downs were written so convincingly that she shone through.
Genre: Historical Australian fiction
Publisher: Even Before Publishing
"Mary's Guardian" is a finalist in the 2011 CALEB fiction prize, alongside Mary Hawkins' "Justice at Baragula" and my "Best Forgotten." Mentioning that these books are so completely different from each other is a huge understatement. I'm sure we'll all be full of nerves and anticipation on the night of the announcement on November 11th.
Mary's Guardian available at Amazon