Swashbuckling romance, hardships and sacrifices, unsuitable attachments and unmitigated greed are among the themes of this well-written historical romance set in the rough and rowdy days of the Australian gold rush. Avoiding the obvious pitfalls and cliches, Shaw has crafted a solid, exciting, well-researched novel with fully developed subplots that blend into a first-rate saga. The beginning is rather improbable: an outback cattle rancher falls in love with young housemaid Perfy Middleton one day, and proposes to her the next. Not long after, he's dead, leaving Perfy heiress to his distant holdings. Accompanied by Diamond, a beautiful aborigine girl, Perfy sets out to claim her inheritance. This involves an arduous trek across the unforgiving Australian countryside to face those avaricious prospectors for whom no sacrifice--and no betrayal--is too great if the end result is a successful claim. Against this savagery is pitted the love of Perfy and the handsome captain of a Chinese junk carrying gold prospectors, and the tender affection between Diamond and her blind brother. Shaw gets it all right, from the questionable backgrounds of the early Australian settlers to the futile nobility of the aborigine tribes whose way of life was about to disappear forever. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1992 Release date: 12/01/1992 Genre: Fiction
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