Sisters of Freedom
by Mary-Anne O'Connor
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 07 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 08 Apr 2021
A passionate tale of three sisters as they strive for freedom and independence and follow their hearts to unexpected places, from a master storyteller. For readers of Fiona McIntosh, Nicole Alexander and Natasha Lester.
Sydney, Christmas, 1901. Federation has been achieved but Australian women are yet to gain the right to vote in their new nation's elections and have a say in the laws that govern them.
Bolshy, boisterous Frankie Merriweather is a fervent advocate for women's rights, determined to dedicate herself to the cause, never marrying or becoming a mother. She can't understand her artistic sister Ivy, who wants a life of ease and beauty with her soon-to-be fiance, law student Patrick Earle.
Meanwhile, their married sister Aggie volunteers in an orphanage, decrying the inequality of Australia's social classes ... and longing to hold a baby in her arms.
When an accident takes Ivy, wounded and ill, into the violent and lawless zone of the Hawkesbury River, a year of change begins. Ivy's burgeoning friendship with her saviour Riley Logan, a smuggler, and his sister, the poverty-stricken but valiant Fiona, will alter the lives of all three women forever.
A Note From the Publisher
Bestselling author Mary-Anne O'Connor has a combined arts education degree with specialties in environment, music and literature. After a successful marketing career she now focuses on writing fiction and non-fiction as well as public speaking.
Mary-Anne lives in a house overlooking her beloved bushland in northern Sydney with her husband Anthony, their two sons Jimmy and Jack, and their very spoilt dog Saxon. Her previous novels are Gallipoli Street (2015), Worth Fighting For (2016), War Flower (2017) and In a Great Southern Land (2019).
|EDITION||Mass Market Paperback|
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 16 members
Another wonderfully entertaining read by Mary-Anne O’Connor. Love a good Australian historical fiction and I have read all Mary-Anne O’Connor books as she certainly does her research and weaves history into a great fictional tale. The characters and events in this book are fictional however it is based on real events in history.
The story set in the early 1900s revolves around the Merriweather family Albert, Harriet and their three daughters Aggie, Frankie and Ivy who live in Kuranda (a real home in Hornsby, NSW). The girls are as different in looks as they are in temperament. The family are advocates for the rights of women, particularly the right to vote.
I enjoy a family saga and the Merriweather girls certainly provide plenty of drama. There is the hardship of life in the outback, romance, violence, death, inability to have children but above all there is love.
I found the history around the suffragette movement in Australia in 1901 really interesting particularly in the current climate of the #metoo movement and women’s rights. Please make sure you read the Authors Notes at the end of the book.
With thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.
Sydney, 1901. The six colonies of Australia have united to form the Commonwealth of Australia, a process known as Federation and the whole nation celebrates. While Australian women are happy about Federation, they’re still unable to vote, they have no say in how the country is governed and they want this to change.
The Merriweather family are about to celebrate Christmas, it’s been an exciting year and their youngest daughter Ivy is about to turn eighteen. The sisters are very close and each has a very different temperament and hair colour. Agatha or Aggie's married to Robert Stepleton, she volunteers at the local catholic orphanage, and she cares for the babies and longs for children of her own. Aggie notices underprivileged teenage girls are badly treated, the orphanage isn’t willing to help them and this makes her mad. Ivy loves art, drawing and wears very colourful outfits. She longs to get married, have children and she’s infatuated with law student Patrick Earle. Frances or Frankie is rather exuberant, high spirited and a great bowler. She’s dedicated to the suffrage movement, she’s not interested in getting married and having babies.
On Ivy’s birthday tragedy strikes, she’s injured and lying on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. It’s an extremely dangerous place for a woman alone to be, smuggler Riley Logan comes across Ivy and he knows local thug Donovan and his unscrupulous friends are lurking nearby. He needs to act quickly, his sister Fiona will help and she lives with her husband George in a modest shack on the banks of the river. Fiona might be poor, but she’s extremely kind and a loving mother to her twin daughters Tricia and Annie. She and Ivy become close and the entire Merriweather family are very grateful for Riley's and Fiona's help.
When the unthinkable happens the three Merriweather sisters are determined to help the plight of Australian women, to end the cycle of poverty, stop domestic violence, for men to be legally accountable for their actions and for women to be able to vote. Sisters of Freedom is a story about Australian woman in the early 1900’s and their resolution to make changes, they marched, chanted, sung, the battle was won and were granted the right to vote. A truly remarkable book, I highly recommend reading it and five big stars from me.