Publisher and Publication Date: Red Door Press. April 2, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction. Women and literature.
Pages: eBook copy. 356.
Source: I received a complimentary eBook copy from HFVBT, I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of women and literature, and historical fiction.
Rating: Very good.
Giveaway link to Gleam:
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Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours about the tour: The Philosopher’s Daughter.
Praise for The Philosopher’s Daughter:
A lyrical tale of wild, frontier Australia. Evocative, insightful, thought-provoking.” -Karen Viggers, author”Booth is superb at the small detail that creates a life, and the large one that gives it meaning.” –
Marion Halligan, author“Delicately handled historical drama with a theme of finding self, both in relationships and art, backed by issues on race relations in Australia and women’s rights.” -Tom Flood, author and editor
About The Author:
Alison Booth was born in Melbourne, brought up in Sydney and has worked in the UK and in Australia as a professor as well as a novelist. Her most recent novel, A Perfect Marriage, is in the genre of contemporary fiction, while her first three novels (Stillwater Creek, The Indigo Sky, and A Distant Land) are historical fiction spanning the decades 1950s through to the early 1970s. Alison’s work has been translated into French and has also been published by Reader’s Digest Select Editions in both Asia and Europe. Alison, who holds a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics, is an active public speaker and has participated in many writers’ festivals and literary events.
A tale of two very different sisters whose 1890s voyage from London into remote outback Australia becomes a journey of self-discovery, set against a landscape of wild beauty and savage dispossession.
London in 1891: Harriet Cameron is a talented young artist whose mother died when she was barely five. She and her beloved sister Sarah were brought up by their father, radical thinker James Cameron. After adventurer Henry Vincent arrives on the scene, the sisters’ lives are changed forever. Sarah, the beauty of the family, marries Henry and embarks on a voyage to Australia. Harriet, intensely missing Sarah, must decide whether to help her father with his life’s work or devote herself to painting.
When James Cameron dies unexpectedly, Harriet is overwhelmed by grief. Seeking distraction, she follows Sarah to Australia, and afterwards into the Northern Territory outback, where she is alienated by the casual violence and great injustices of outback life.
Her rejuvenation begins with her friendship with an Aboriginal stockman and her growing love for the landscape. But this fragile happiness is soon threatened by murders at a nearby cattle station and by a menacing station hand seeking revenge.
The beginning of the story started slow for me. I hung on, because I wanted to get to the point when the two sisters were in Australia. Once the sisters began their new life in Australia, I enjoyed reading The Philosopher’s Daughters.
The sisters are vastly different in personalities and temperaments. This is my first reason why I liked this story. The sisters bring different view points of women in the late 19th century, and they bring different perspectives of Australia.
Sarah is strong-willed and determined, but teachable. Harriet is strong-willed and determined, but obstinate. This leads to some poor decisions from Harriet.
Through their eyes I saw Australia. Australia is the setting for most of the book. The culture of the Aborigine people and how the white people treated them is a conflict in the story. Sarah and Harriet have a growing knowledge of the culture and society of both people groups, but the women respond in different ways.
The land of Australia came alive. The vivid colors, terrain, and unbroken wildness became another reason why I like this story.
I enjoy reading about how men and women relate to one another. This is not always pleasant reading, but it satisfies a curiosity about the different viewpoints of how the two respond to one another considering the society of that historical period. Sarah is a married woman through most of the story. Sarah speaks her mind, because she doesn’t always understand her husband. However, she submits to his leadership. Harriet doesn’t understand this type of thinking, because she wants to be independent and make her own life. This is an additional conflict.
Over-all I felt this is a very good story!