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Description - The Girl from Botany Bay by Carolly Erickson

From prizewinning biographer Carolly Erickson, the harrowing story of a celebrated convict's 4,000--mile escape from prison by sea with her two small children In 1788, the British government commuted nineteen--year--old Mary Bryant's death sentence and transported her to Botany Bay, the penal colony in Australia. Her crime: stealing a lady's bonnet. In Australia, Mary married another convict and had two children, but harsh conditions made life increasingly unbearable. In 1791, she, her family, and seven other convicts escaped in a small open boat and sailed an astonishing 4,000 miles to the Dutch colony at Timor. The convicts initially passed as survivors of a shipwreck, but they were soon exposed, rounded up, and put on a ship back to England. Mary's two children died of fever on the voyage, and it seemed likely that she would face transportation back to Australia. But in England, her amazing escape and tragic story quickly became a cause celebre, and Mary was ultimately pardoned. Now, in this gripping narrative history, Carolly Erickson brings this remarkable woman to life, offering an indelible account of crime, punishment, heroism, and redemption. Carolly Erickson (Kailua, HI) is a distinguished historian who has written biographies of Empress Josephine, Tsarina Alexandra, and Queens Elizabeth I, Victoria, and Elizabeth II.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780471271406
ISBN-10: 0471271403
Format: Hardback
(237mm x 160mm x 22mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: John Wiley & Sons Inc
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publish Date: 11-Nov-2004
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - The Girl from Botany Bay by Carolly Erickson

Book Reviews - The Girl from Botany Bay by Carolly Erickson

US Kirkus Review » Prolific biographer Erickson (Alexandra, 2001, etc.) skillfully renders the extraordinary life of Mary Broad, who survived a voyage to and from a penal colony to become James Boswell's protegee. Born in 1769 and raised in Cornwall, Mary grew up amid filth, violence, and privation in a period of especially hard times: harvests had failed, the fish were not running, the Cornish were starving. Arrested for robbery and sentenced to be hung, the 20-year-old girl was instead sent to the recently established penal colony of New South Wales in Australia, because the British government needed people, women in particular, to settle there. In the fetid prison hulks that dotted Plymouth harbor, imprisoned with prostitutes and habitual criminals, Mary became pregnant before she finally set sail. The 15,000-mile voyage was grueling: space, food, and water were limited, diseases rampant, and sexual abuse common. But Mary survived, giving birth to a daughter en route. When they reached Australia, she married fellow convict William Bryant in order that they could acquire their own land. But crops failed, famine was rife, the natives were hostile, and mortality was high; realizing that their lives were even worse than they'd been in England, the Bryants decided to escape. Bringing along Mary's daughter and newborn son, they stole a boat and sailed with seven other adults up the east coast to Dutch-ruled Batavia, some 4,000 miles away. It was an epic feat, but Mary wasn't yet safe. Discovered and sent back to England, with both her children dead, she was once more imprisoned. Luckily, her amazing story garnered public sympathy and the support of Boswell, who determined to secure her freedom. Compelling tale with a gritty heroine: Broad's hardscrabble adventures forcefully remind readers that 18th-century life bore very little resemblance to an episode of Masterpiece Theater. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Carolly Erickson

CAROLLY ERICKSON is a prizewinning historian and biographer, widely acclaimed as a master of historical writing. Her eighteen nonfiction books have won her a large international following. Erickson lives in Hawaii.

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