Orphan Rock is a complex and richly detailed story of secrets and heartbreak that will take you from the back streets of Sydney’s slums to the wide avenues of the City of Lights.
The late 1800s was a time when women were meant to know their place. But when Bessie starts to work for Louisa Lawson at The Dawn, she comes to realise there’s more to a woman’s place than servitude to a husband.
Years later her daughter Kathleen flees to Paris to escape a secret she cannot accept. But World War One intervenes, exposing her to both the best and the worst of humanity.
Masterful and epic, this book is both a splendid evocation of early Sydney, and a truly powerful story about how women and minorities fought against being silenced.
‘Her writing is finely crafted, her prose poetic and subtle, and a joy to read.’ Monique Mulligan, author of Wildflower and Wherever You Go
‘Dominique Wilson is a wonderful storyteller. The research is impeccable, the realism unforgiving.’ Brian Castro, author of Blindness and Rage and Shanghai Dancing.
Published 1 March 2022| Publisher: Transit Lounge Publishing | RRP: AUD$32.99
My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)
Orphan Rock is an epic story of women over 2 generations. While readers follow their journeys through life, we also follow on a tumultuous time of history (of Australia & the world). These women lived through women suffrage, wars, the Great Depression, influenza pandemic (this sort of hit rather close to home!), the Razor gang and many other significant historical events. They are ordinary women from the outlook and yet, at the end, you will see that even so, they are extraordinary for they came out the other end of sufferings, stronger and brighter.
I really wasn’t expecting the book to be quite so big (almost 500 pages) and it took me quite a long time to read because I can only read a little bit of suffering at time before I need something lighter to lift my mood. I totally agree with Brian Castro (see his blurb in above book description) especially in the phrase, ‘the realism unforgiving’. Gosh, yes, things just kept happening to these women and felt like they almost never caught a break! I think they did have a break but those chapters in their lives just didn’t make it into this book because it’ll be somewhat boring reading someone else cruising through life.
I’d recommend this book if you enjoy your Australian history; being immersed in last century’s Sydney and it really felt like a historical tour via the eyes of ordinary people who lived it then.
My thanks to Transit Lounge Publishing for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts
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