Nearly two hundred condemned women on board a sailing ship bound for Australia. One of them is a murderer. From debut author Hope Adams comes a thrilling novel based on the 1841 voyage of the convict ship Rajah, about confinement, hope, and the terrible things we do to survive.
London, 1841. One hundred eighty Englishwomen file aboard the Rajah, embarking on a three-month voyage to the other side of the world.
They’re daughters, sisters, mothers–and convicts.
Transported for petty crimes.
Except one of them has a deadly secret, and will do anything to flee justice.
As the Rajah sails farther from land, the women forge a tenuous kinship. Until, in the middle of the cold and unforgiving sea, a young mother is mortally wounded, and the hunt is on for the assailant before he or she strikes again.
Each woman called in for question has something to fear: Will she be attacked next? Will she be believed? Because far from land, there is nowhere to flee, and how can you prove innocence when you’ve already been found guilty?
Title : Dangerous Women
Author : Hope Adams
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 400
Genre : Historical Fiction
Publisher : Michael Joseph Books
Release Date : March 4, 2021
Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
Suspense on the seas
The cover of this book swept me away initally, followed by the synopsis. Reading the book totally lived up to my hopes and expectations. I would categorise this as a historical suspense. Its strengths partially lie in the fact that this story context is reality, the voyage of convicts being transported and occupying themselves by making a quilt. The other strength was the execution, the writing that transported me along with the passengers of the ship.
The story was told from the POV of the ship’s ‘matron’ Kezia, a 23 year old women of respectable background, there to oversee the female convicts on their way to Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania). There were other POVs of some of the prominent convict characters. There was a stabbing some weeks into the journey (this is the the blurb, no spoiler here) and much of the story I spent speculating and getting it wrong.
This was very much a women’s book, about women, for women, understanding women of that era However, these women were ever at the mercy of men and it wasn’t set in a time where women were empowered so I wouldn’t necessarily call this a feminist read. However Kezia did have her moments of assertion among the leading men of the ship.
This was a compelling tale, with twists and turns. Ship life had all the smells, hardship and difficulty you might imagine but the description enhanced your sense of these womens’ existence. I would have loved an epilogue of what happened to these women after they got to their destination. I wanted to know if they really got their new chance.
We’re many small pieces, each of us different but now stitched together. A patchwork of souls.
If you love historical reads and/or if you love suspenseful reads, Dangerous Women will not disappoint. There are triggers in here for some and please check out other reviews or message me if you want details.
Thank you to Michael Joseph Books for the review copy.