A mixture of fact and fiction, this novel tells the story of a young pioneer woman, Georgiana Molloy, and her family as they settle in to the alien bushland of Augusta, Western Australia from England, on their promised land grant. Threaded through the pioneering adventures is the (imagined) story of young Will Summerfield and his sister Charlotte, the children of a hopeful yet weak mother who has married a violent stepfather, Thomas, a man keen to take up land grants in the New World at whatever cost to his wife and stepchildren. At 23 years of age Georgiana has married retired military man Captain Jack Molloy, undertaking the five-month journey on a small sailing ship, the Warrior, crammed with other settlers, their farming animals and faming tools and their hopes of making their fortunes in Australia. Fortune does not smile on young Georgiana at first, when she gives birth to her first baby girl, camping on the beach, nine days after landing. Will finds himself drawn to this gentle and friendly woman, who more than once has shown him kindness on the ship voyage out. Gradually, Georgiana, always curious, begins to see the unique beauty in this harsh new land and, for relief from her arduous life, turns to botanising: observing and identifying the beautiful indigenous flowers that bloom in spring. A letter from a Captain Mangles, a wealthy English collector and botanist, seeking knowledge of the wildflowers of Australia, sets her into a frenzy of activity only two months after the death of baby John. She is remarkable in her collecting and her passion for the flowers, exciting the whole household about the importance of the work, lifting all of them out of the terrible loss they are bearing. It is at this time that Will discovers a terrible secret about his stepfather. Georgiana is a captivating story about the extraordinary life of this brave pioneering woman, whose passion for the small, bountiful flowers of the West led to their proliferation round the globe.
Publication Date: 01-Apr-2008
Publisher: Hachette Australia