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I love Darry Fraser’s ability to sweep readers away from our busy modern lives and into an earlier time in our history. Elsa Goody, Bushranger does just that as it takes us back to the end of the 19th century, to difficult times in rural South Australia and Victoria, where hardship comes in the form of illness and poverty. I was so taken with Elsa, a strong woman who was willing and able to both care for her ailing father and farm their tiny allotment ensuring that even with no stock left there would be something on the dinner table. I also loved her passion and determination to be the first woman to vote in her town. Clearly Elsa was a woman determined to make her mark and in this novel she surely does. I was swept away with her grit in the face of the challenges she faced, both losing the last of her three brothers and then her father in quick succession and in seeking out the stranger who had cared for her brother in his last hours. While this story is largely Elsa’s, and thank goodness there was Zeke to bring some happiness into her life, it is also peppered with other lively characters. Her sister Rosie is largely a burden born with grace, while Zeke and his children are bright shining lights. The characters very much make this story and I found myself utterly invested in them and their lives. Late 19th century rural Australia offers a far from easy lifestyle and I certainly sat up and took a hard look at my own life in comparison to how it was in those times. This book, while fictional, certainly provided what I believe to be a very accurate picture and one that I found utterly fascinating.
I am really into Australian historical tales at the moment, and Darry Fraser is quickly becoming a favourite in the genre.
Elsa Goody, Bushranger is a story of strong, independent and fierce women in a time when this was not the norm. When events strike the Goody family, Elsa and her sister Rosie go on a 19th century road trip full of tensions, mystery and a bit of mayhem at times. These ladies are full of grit and determination.
Ms Fraser has drawn on important issues at the time - the suffragette movement is a big part of Elsa's tale.
Elsa is the kind of woman we should all be. Strong, independent and with a loyal streak a mile wide.
I was drawn right into this adventure, and I look forward to what Ms Fraser brings us in the future.