A Wonderful Historical Romance Set in The Australian Bush: Review of The Postmistress by Alison Stuart

A Wonderful Historical Romance Set in The Australian Bush: Review of The Postmistress by Alison Stuart

An unforgettable heroine and a slow-burning, beautiful romance.

To forge a new life she must first deal with her past…

It’s 1871, Adelaide Greaves and her former maid and now friend, Netty, have left England and found sanctuary in the Australian town of Maiden’s Creek. The rough Victorian goldmining settlement is a hard place for a woman – especially as the other women in town don’t know what to make of her – but through force of will and sheer necessity, Adelaide carves out a role. She works as the local postmistress and raises her son Danny, and over the years builds a life she loves and is proud of in the small community.

Caleb Hunt is a battle worn Confederate soldier who has arrived in town from America in search of gold. Soon after his arrival he injures himself saving Danny from a runaway horse, and ends up recuperating at Adelaide’s home. Caleb has a dark past he’s dealing with, as does Adelaide. Adelaide’s initial reluctance turns to attraction and respect as she gets to know Caleb. But Adelaide finds it difficult to trust. Can Adelaide trust him? Can she trust anyone?

Over time, Caleb becomes a respected member of the Maiden’s Creek community, cemented when smallpox arrives in town and he reveals he’s studied medicine, although his credentials are out of date. Along with the local doctor, he deals with the isolated smallpox case, and then helps vaccinate the rest of the community. Then, while the local doctor departs for Melbourne to make the smallpox report in person, Caleb is left in charge of the town practice. During this time, he builds a budding romance with Adelaide and a friendship with her son. The restraint of this potential romance is beautifully juxtaposed against the harsh Australian environment, and the town’s pubs and brothels.

But things become extremely complicated when someone from Adelaide’s past makes a shock appearance in town leaving Adelaide with a heartbreaking choice to make. And Caleb too must make a choice when he becomes privy to some vital information that will save Adelaide from making the worst mistake of her life.

The Postmistress is a highly enjoyable read. Do yourself a favour and curl up with a coffee and take a trip back in time to Victoria’s goldmining era. It is Alison Stuart’s first historical to be set in Australia, and thanks to meticulous research she brings the goldmining era and the fictional town of Maiden’s Creek to life.

Promoted for readers of The Thorn BirdsThe Naturalist’s Daughter and The Widow of Ballarat, the novel also reminded me of my favourite Australian historical romance, now a classic, The Exiles by Vivian Stuart. Perhaps it’s the same surname, but Alison Stuart’s marvellous novel has the same great pace and sense of place, with an unforgettable heroine and a slow-burning, beautiful romance.

Buy a copy of The Postmistress here

About the author

Australian author Alison Stuart began her writing journey halfway up a tree in the school playground with a notebook and a dream. Her father’s passion for history and her husband’s love of adventure and the Australian bush led to a desire to tell stories of Australia’s past.

She has travelled extensively and lived in Africa and Singapore. Before turning to writing full time, she enjoyed a long and varied career as a lawyer, both in private practice and in a range of different organisations, including the military and the emergency services.

Alison lives in a historic town in Victoria.

 

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                      Publisher details

                      The Postmistress
                      Author
                      Sarah Blake
                      Publisher
                      Penguin
                      Genre
                      Fiction
                      Released
                      09 February, 2010

                      Synopsis

                      It is 1940, and bombs fall nightly on London.In the thick of the chaos is young American radio reporter Frankie Bard. She huddles close to terrified strangers in underground shelters, and later broadcasts stories about survivors in rubble-strewn streets. But for her listeners, the war is far from home.Listening to Frankie are Iris James, a Cape Cod postmistress, and Emma Fitch, a doctor's wife. Iris hears the winds stirring and knows that soon the letters she delivers will bear messages of hope or tragedy. Emma is desperate for news of London, where her husband is working – she counts the days until his return.But one night in London the fates of all three women entwine when Frankie finds a letter – a letter she vows to deliver . . .The Postmistress is an unforgettable story of three women: their loves, their partings and the secrets they must bear, or bury . . . 'Heartbreaking'  Daily Express'A World War Two blockbuster with echoes of AtonementRed'A moving tale that will stay with you long after the final page'  Good Housekeeping'In Sarah Blake's World War II story The Postmistress, rousing on-air missives from radio presenter Frankie Bard touch the lives of women on both sides of the Atlantic.' Vogue'The real strength of The Postmistress lies in its ability to strip away reader's defenses against stories of wartime uncertainty and infuse that chaos with wrenching immediacy and terror. Ms Blake writes powerfully about the fragility of life and about Frankie's efforts to explain how a person can be present in one instant and then in the next gone forever . . . The nobility triumphs over the fear, which is one explanation of why this book will click in a major way. Another is that Ms Blake knows how to deliver tragic turns of fate with maximum impact.' The New York Times'Great books give you a feeling that you miss all day until you finally get to crawl back inside those pages again. The Postmistress is one of those rare books. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. Sarah Blake seamlessly moves from inside one character to another, in a novel that reminds us of a time when the news travelled from post to paper to radio and that is how we learned about the world The Postmistress made me homesick for a time before I was even born. What’s remarkable, however, is how relevant the story is to our present-day times. A beautifully written, thought provoking novel that I'm telling everyone I know to read.'  Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help'I loved it. It's exquisite and I wish I'd written it. It's truly a lovely, moving and beautifully evocative book.' Cathy Kelly'Think The Help meets The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.' Oprah Magazine'I think it could have the kind of following that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society had.' USA Today 
                      Alison Stuart
                      About the author

                      Alison Stuart

                      Australian author Alison Stuart began her writing journey halfway up a tree in the school playground with a notebook and a dream. Her father's passion for history and her husband's love of adventure and the Australian bush led to a desire to tell stories of Australia's past. She has travelled extensively and lived in Africa and Singapore.Before turning to writing full time, she enjoyed a long and varied career as a lawyer, both in private practice and in a range of different organisations, including the military and the emergency services. Alison lives in a historic town in Victoria.

                      Books by Alison Stuart

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                      1. Elizabeth Pender says:

                        I loved reading the Postmistress and was wondering when the following book will be released.