Skip to main content

Review: The Roaring Nineties, by Katharine Susannah Prichard


Pages: 411
Original date of publication: 1946
My edition: 1983 (Virago Modern Classics)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: London, September 2011

The Roaring Nineties is set on the Australian frontier in the 1890s. Sally Gough is the wife of a gold miner, eking out a rough living in the goldfields of Western Australia. It’s a tough life these people live, certainly much different than ours is now; and it’s interesting to watch the characters grow, even as the Australian frontier changes with the advent of the railway and the growth of towns.

It’s a tough book to get through; bleak in many places. As such, it’s a bit of a slog. But despite that, I enjoyed this novel; it’s very realistic and true to the time period (even though I know nothing about colonial Australia or the business of gold prospecting). Sally seems very flat and devoid of emotion; I guess that life on the frontier makes people become stoic in that way. Her focus is her family and she turns out to be a tough, resilient person. Even though her marriage to her husband Morris frustrates her and she if offered the possibility of something more exciting, she proves herself to be very loyal and practical by sticking with her original promise. There’s also a covert feminist theme to this book; so many of the female characters are victims of the men on the goldfields, but Sally is the exception to this rule.

The Roaring Nineties is above all a social commentary culminating with the conflict between the alluvial miners and the big companies that sought to control them. It will be interesting to watch Sally and her family’s lives through the other two books in the series, Golden Miles and Winged Seeds. Apparently, Prichard based her story on the reminisces of two real people, who became the inspiration for Sally Gough and Dinny Quin. It’ll be interesting to see how the story develops.


Comments

John said…
This article is really worth reading, it has too much details in it and yet it is so simple to understand, Thanks for sharing the picture it has great detail in it and i really appreciate your true artistic work!


GED Online

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

Review: The Tudor Secret, by CW Gortner

Pages: 327Original date of publication:My edition: 2011 (St. Martin’s)Why I decided to read: Heard about this through Amazon.comHow I acquired my copy: Amazon Vine, December 2010Originally published as The Secret Lion, The Tudor Secret is the first in what will be a series featuring Brendan Prescott, an orphan foundling who was raised in the household of the Dudley family. In 1553, King Edward is on his deathbed, and William Cecil gives a secret mission Brendan. Soon he finds himself working as a double agent, as he attempts to discover the secret of his own birth.There ‘s a lot to like in this novel, mainly in the historical details that the author weaves into the story. He knows Tudor history like the back of his hand, and it definitely shows in this book. Because it was his first novel, however, there are some rough patches. There were a couple of plot holes that I had trouble navigating around—primarily, why would a secretive man such as Cecil entrust a seemingly nobody with this …