Sara Dane is the story of an eighteenth-century young Englishwoman who is unjustly sentenced and transported to the penal colony of Australia. The novel follows Sara's struggle to raise herself from the status of a convict to a position of wealth and power. She faces many challenges, from the savage voyage aboard a convict ship to the corruption and prejudice rife in New South Wales. Life in the Colony is harsh, and Sara has to contend with natural disasters and convict outbreaks, as well as the snobbery of the high society she wishes to enter.
When I clicked my e-reader to start the story of Sara Dane, I was instantly taken back to my teenage years when I devoured Catherine Gaskin novels and could hardly wait until my mother had finished with her copy before I grabbed it from her.
Reading Sara Dane is like being reunited with an old friend, I knew the story that of the transportation of this feisty heroine into the penal colony in Australia, but what I had forgotten was the overriding charm of the story and the way the author draws you into the period with good writing and fine attention to detail. Of course, the writing style may appear a little dated and there is less reliance on immoral shenanigans but what you get in abundance is adventure on a grand scale and some lovely light and shade touches, which make the reading of this story so pleasurable.
Sara Dane is a great historical romp by an author who was completely at the top of her game. She completed this story 1954 and after its publication Sara Dane became one of her best known books and sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. If you have not been introduced to this fine writer before and you enjoy historical stories on grand scale then you could do no worse than to give Catherine Gaskin a try. Or, of course, you may be like me and wish to meet up again with an old friend, either way, I am sure you will be well entertained.
My thanks to Ian Skillicorn, at Great Stories with Heart, for reissuing this story and for being given the opportunity to read and review Sara Dane for a new book audience.
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