The Exiles

The Exiles

A Novel

Book - 2020
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Seduced by her employer's son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious Newgate Prison. After months in the fetid, overcrowded jail, she learns she is sentenced to "the land beyond the seas," Van Diemen's Land, a penal colony in Australia. Though uncertain of what awaits, Evangeline knows one thing: the child she carries will be born on the months-long voyage to this distant land. During the journey on a repurposed slave ship, the Medea , Evangeline strikes up a friendship with Hazel, a girl little older than her former pupils who was sentenced to seven years transport for stealing a silver spoon. Canny where Evangeline is guileless, Hazel -- a skilled midwife and herbalist -- is soon offering home remedies to both prisoners and sailors in return for a variety of favors. Though Australia has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, the British government in the 1840s considers its fledgling colony uninhabited and unsettled, and views the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. By the time the Medea arrives, many of them have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by white colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen's Land. In this gorgeous novel, Christina Baker Kline brilliantly recreates the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, telling the story of Australia from a fresh perspective, through the experiences of Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinna. While life in Australia is punishing and often brutally unfair, it is also, for some, an opportunity: for redemption, for a new way of life, for unimagined freedom.
Publisher: New York, NY :, William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2020]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062356345
0062356348
Characteristics: 371 pages ; 24 cm

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l
LBJ
Feb 23, 2021

Absolutely loved this book.
A must read. But I confess I love all of Christina'a books

s
savtadina
Jan 06, 2021

I agree with the review by Reads-a-Lot. It is a powerful well-researched but very bleak novel telling of the realities of women prisoners sent to what is now Tasmania and the trials they suffered in prison there. It intertwines the story of an aborigine girl, the daughter of a king. She is an orphan, living in a town where her people were forced to live and was brought by the governor's wife to "civilize" her.

The notes at the end and the books and other materials used to research and write this book are impressive. Someday I would like to read some of them.

d
deborahvcarson
Dec 01, 2020

another really want to read --- In this gorgeous novel, Christina Baker Kline brilliantly recreates the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, telling the story of Australia from a fresh perspective, through the experiences of Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinna.

l
Llaureys66
Nov 11, 2020

I loved this book! It's a fascinating read about women taken on ships as prisoners to what is present day Tasmania. All of the women are exiled for one reason or another. They become linked much like Mathinna' s necklace that she was given by her mother. The Exiles is heartwrenching at times but well worth the tears.

d
dcolket
Oct 19, 2020

This was a great read. It shows that converts were not judged by their peers.

d
Daisybates
Sep 15, 2020

It was interesting to read a historical fiction book about Australia. My reading about the history of Australia has been limited. However, the storyline was disjointed in my opinion. For that reason, I rated it a four star read.

g
genepy
Sep 11, 2020

The author is a very talented storyteller and even if the plot was cousu de fil blanc and predictable, the historical elements are well researched and the characters well developed.
Historical fiction at its best , very evocative of the times .

t
tina43
Sep 06, 2020

I loved this book and all of Kline's work.

r
Reads_A_Lot
Aug 31, 2020

This book has an interesting premise and is well written but turned out to be rather bleak. Set in 1840 Australia when England was forcibly removing the Aborigines while also sending over ships full of convicts, it follows 2 female convicts and a young indigenous girl. Reading the book flap that called this a gorgeous novel about the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, I imagined the convicts starting a new life on a homestead in the Outback. Not so. All three of the characters face cruelty, brutality, and hardship in prison, on a prison ship, and in a ugly little town. It was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages, but this is definitely not a feel-good story.

b
becker
Aug 25, 2020

I really liked following the experience of a female convict at this time in history when Britain was sending convicts to a penal colony in Australia. The whole book was an interesting and informing snap shot of a time and place in history. I also thought the pacing was good. The book moved along nicely but never felt rushed. This is an easy book to recommend and a nice WWII break for fans of historical fiction.

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Weezie5431
Feb 20, 2021

3 Women prisoners to Tasmania.
Bleak. 371 p

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