Posts Tagged ‘deborah challinor’

a tattooed heart

Life is looking good for Friday, Sarah, and Harrie, convict girls in 1830s Sydney. Friday is now a dominatrix, running Mrs H’s whipping room; Sarah runs the best jewellery shop in Sydney; Harrie is married to the dashing Dr Downey and the loving mother of Charlotte while providing Leo with unique flash (tattoo designs).

Then Charlotte is kidnapped and taken to Newcastle. As bonded convicts they can’t leave Sydney so how will they find her? I am reluctant to say too much and give the story away but we meet Aria again (yay!) and Jonah Leary (boo hiss!) and of course the despicable Bella Shand.

The plot moved swiftly and there were heart-warming moments, a worrying cliff-hanger (until the next chapter), a well-I-didn’t-see-THAT-coming revelation, and an of-course! moment. The can be read as a stand-alone book but all previous three books really should be read.

I loved   the final in the fascinating and addictive quartet. It wraps everything up nicely and the final pages have an answer to a question raised in the first book Behind The Sun. I love these characters and the author has said they may appear in future stories she writes. I hope so!

HarperCollins Publishing

Supplied by HarperCollins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan


the silk thief

Friday, Sarah, and Harrie are convict girls in 1830s Sydney, bonded out to work as servants and earn their keep. Friday works as a prostitute, Sarah has married her jeweller husband and helps run his business, Harrie is a domestic now learning the art of tattooing.

After Walter killed the disgusting Amos Furniss in the last book, he needs to disappear so the girls and Leo, Harrie’s tattooist boss, book him passage on a ship bound for England. He has to hide for a few days before sailing so Friday secretly stashes him in her madam’s basement, where he makes a shocking discovery.

After Adam’s release from gaol, he and Sarah give up their side business of being jewel thieves and concentrate on legitimate business. Harrie is given the chance by Leo to learn to use the needles and uses Friday to practise on. She’s still seeing Rachel though, and is haunted by the killing of Gabriel Kemp.

Then things get bad and Harrie needs saving. Friday is in love and battling her own demons, while Sarah is lying low to avoid attracting police attention. Who will rescue her?

Sydneytown comes vividly to life, you can see it, smell it, and get an idea of how hard life was then. A few questions were answered with the plot moving swiftly and providing some revelations, while new questions were raised. The previous two books really should be read to provide background, though just enough information is given if you haven’t read them.

I love this series! It’s so addictive and thrilling and I’m anxiously waiting for the release of The Tattooed Heart, the fourth and final book in this quartet.

HarperCollins Publishing

Supplied by HarperCollins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Review of Girl of Shadows here

girl of ahadowsFinally the follow up to Behind the Sun!

After Rachel’s death in childbirth the three remaining convict girls; Friday, Sarah, and Harriet, save all the money they can to look after her daughter Charlotte, who’s still in the Factory.  They have been assigned jobs that are unpaid and have to earn on the side.

Sarah has been assigned to the jeweller Adam Green and his harpy of a wife Esther.  She has been pocketing small pieces to pawn but starts to feel guilty about betraying Adam.  Angry about being prevented from attending Rachel’s funeral, Sarah convinces Esther her angry spirit has returned to haunt the house. Then Adam leaves on business and Esther seizes the chance to return Sarah to the Factory.

Friday is officially a chambermaid in a hotel, the Siren Arms, but in reality is working in a brothel there.  Mrs H, the madam, treats her well and tries to encourage Friday to be more ladylike and tone down her flamboyance.  She tries but, well, Friday is Friday.  Deep down she hates being a whore but feels she must as the money is good and she can save a lot for Charlotte’s care.

Harriet has been assigned as a maid for the Barrett’s and looks after the children as well as sewing in their dressmaking business.  Mr Barrett also arranges for her to work with a tattoo artist, Leo, a crusty old sailor.  She still won’t speak to Dr James Downey after he performed an autopsy on Rachel and is being pursued by Matthew Cutler, who was on the ship with them.

All the while they’re keeping a dark secret and being blackmailed by Bella Jackson to keep her quiet.

The story is full of action, with secrets being exposed and lots of intrigue.  There are lighter moment – I enjoyed Sarah’s haunting plot – and the characters are strong and likable, both those we know and the new ones we me.  Except for Bella and Amos of course, and the fellows Sarah encounters.  I’m hoping the next book has Bella’s downfall, she’s such a cow.  I loved this book and recommend it for any historical fan.  It’s not necessary to have read the first book Behind the Sun but you should as it’s so good!

HarperCollins New Zealand has kindly supplied a copy of this book for a giveaway.  To be in the draw leave a comment below and winners will be drawn on Thursday 14th November.  Open to those in New Zealand and Australia only.

HarperCollins Publishers

Supplied by HarperCollins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Review of Behind the Sun here

behind the sunFour very different women’s lives are intertwined when they end up in Newsgate Prison and are sentenced to be transported to the penal settlement of New South Wales.  Friday Woolfe is a streetwise prostitute with a soft heart; Harriet Clarke is a talented seamstress who sees the good in everyone’ Sarah Morgan is a cunning thief who doesn’t forgive easily; Rachel Winter is mercurial and naive, believing her fiancé will rescue her.

The book tells how they ended up in Newsgate, fighting for survival.  Each was to serve out their sentence in Australia and we follow their journey on a convict ship to there.  There are more trials to come once they’re settled in Sydneytown.  Strong heroines, a fascinating plot that was well researched, brief appearances by real figures in history, this very well written story has it all.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than       I thought I would, as it’s big and thick and the sort of book my mum likes.  I got caught up in the story and read it in two days – I had to find out what happened next.  Now I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel, Girl of Shadows, to continue on with their life in Australia.


Supplied by HarperCollins

Reviewed by Jan