Two young sisters sent far, far from home! When tragedy deprives little Dulcie Taylor and her sister May of their parents, they are sent first to an orphanage and then shipped off to begin a new life in Australia. But the 'better life' the sisters are promised in this new and exciting country turns out to be a lie.
The hardships suffered by the earliest emigrants from Britain to Australia are well-chronicled. Most were criminals. But few know that there was another wave of reluctant emigration as recently as the 1940s/50s. These were not criminals. They were children who had already suffered, some for years, vicious and malicious ill-treatment at the hands of nuns and 'brothers' in English orphanages attached to Roman Catholic convents and monasteries. This is a work of fiction, but close enough to the experiences of many young people of the late-20th century to have a strong core of truth. It concerns a young Australian boy, Ross, and English half-sisters Dulcie and May. The girls' early life was relatively happy, though as the children of incompatible parents there were bad moments. Then, through sheer mischance, they were left parentless and after a brief spell with their grandmother, were summarily despatched to a convent where, behind a bland facade, their treatment was inexplicably sadistic. An offer of a transfer to sunny Australia, half a world away, came as a relief - but not for long. The mistreatment continued, followed, for Dulcie by virtual slavery in the outback, as the unpaid servant of a farmer hacking out an embryo holding from virgin land. May, more cunning, found an easier life with a rich family, but both girls, in their different ways, were to carry the scars of their childhood for the rest of their lives - as did Ross, whose treatment by the 'brothers' caused traumas from which he never recovered. There is a glimpse of the fabled sunshine for Dulcie in adulthood, but only because of her strength of character and the kinder people she met along the way. For May and Ross the story is bleaker. Although much of it is grim, this is a gripping story that needed telling. (Kirkus UK)
A number-one bestseller, Lesley Pearse is greatly loved around the world, and her novels have sold over 2 million copies in the UK alone. Her eight most recent books, including Secrets, Remember Me and Father Unknown are published by Penguin. Lesley lives near Bristol, has three daughters and one grandson.
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