Book Review: Esther by Jessica North

This is in my library as a biography, but I’m inclined to say it’s a mix of biography and historical fiction. This was such an interesting read, based on the true story of Esther the First Fleet convict girl who became First Lady of the colony.

sdrWritten in a diary like form, the story spans over 30 years. This is the first book I’ve read about the First Fleet and it was extremely interesting, especially Esther and her husband George Johnston’s life. Esther was an extremely strong woman, any woman would have had to have been to survive the conditions of the convict ship, then life in a new country that until then had not been populated by anyone other than the aboriginal people. I was disappointed we didn’t get to read much about the plight of the indigenous people, they were mentioned, how could they not be in a story about the founding of Australia by white people, and the way they were treated and the way they fought back to begin with was both interesting and terrible.

The politics involved in setting up the colony were extremely complicated with some of the governors trying to do the best for the colony and some trying to do the best for themselves. It definitely wasn’t a fair place or time to be living in, especially for the convicts and those with no money.

I definitely recommend this book if you are interested in Australia’s history.

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