As the child of John Blaxland, one of the first gentlemen settlers in the raw penal colony of New South Wales, Harriet absorbed the family’s keen sense of their social position. By fourteen, she and her younger brother had made the journey to live in Calcutta with their rich aunt and uncle. By the time she was sixteen, she was married to a partner in one of the richest mercantile agencies in India and lived in Agra, where she could see the Taj Mahal from her veranda. All too soon, her charmed life in India was threatened by illness, conflict, bankruptcy, and death—forcing her to return to Sydney and her disapproving family.
This biography charts the course of her life and loves as she navigated her way through nineteenth century society and across the seas.