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This is the first Lesley Pearse novel I have read. I was recommended it by my mum and to be honest, I didn't think it looked particularly thrilling! I know I shouldn't have... but I judged it by it's cover! This copy has a different front cover, a purple background with the sea in the distance, and a young girl staring wistfully into the distance. I gave it a go based on the blurb on the back, as it told me about Mary Broad, who was sentenced to hang for highway robbery. I'm a fan of historical fiction, but having been very busy with work for a while, I wanted something that wasn't particularly taxing on the brain.
The blurb immediately caught my interest as I am very interested in the history of the legal system. Working in the legal industry, I am interested in what happened in the system before due process and the concepts which make us a civilised nation today, like being innocent until proven guilty.
The story begins with Mary Broad, resident of Fowey in Cornwall in 1786. She is the daughter of a fisherman, in a small, fairly poor village. She lives with her parents and her sister in a time before the mod cons which we take for granted today! She is rather unlike her sister, as Mary is quite adventurous, independent and fits in better with the fishermen than with the women of the village; her sister is more the working in domestic service type, who will be married with children relatively soon!
Mary 'gets in with the wrong crowd' and ends up being arrested for highway robbery. She is consequently tried (with no defence) and sentenced to hang. Mary and many others had their sentences reduced to transportation to Botany Bay.
I will not give away any more of the plot, as it's so gripping that I wouldn't want to give away any spoilers.
During this novel, I really admired Mary. Her character is very independent and feisty. Bearing in mind the position of women in society at the time, Mary is an incredibly forward young lady who is not afraid of hard work or to challenge a man. Even before suffrage, she could challenge not only men, but men in authority. She begins as a relatively naive young lady, but grows and develops as a person into a force to be reckoned with!
The way this novel has been written by Lesley Pearse entwines history (based on a true story) and artistic licence. The characters were really brought to life and it was as though you actually knew the people.
Throughout the book, I laughed, cried and felt bitter dissapointment by the twists and turns. I was so hooked on this book, that I read it in 2 days because I just had to know what happened.
This novel is available for £7.99 print price or £3.99 on kindle. My mum found it in the oxfam shop for 99p, although I would highly recommend it even for the print price.
I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for some more Lesley Pearse novels!
'Remember Me' is a novel by Lesley Pearse which I decided to get from my library after reading a positive review from another Dooyoo member (dippykitty) and realising it sounded like my kind of novel. This is my first Lesley Pearse novel and I hadn't read around the setting of the book much, but thanks to that review I had high expectations from this book and honestly, I wasn't disappointed!
It's 1786. Avoiding a hanging when she is caught stealing a silk hat, Cornish-born Mary Broad is instead sentenced to transportation. She is bound for a ship to Australia with fellow convicts and Marine troops. However, her journey conditions on the ship are horrific and settling on the mysterious land, under the orders of an apathetic, lawless, colony doesn't make her life much better as she and her companions hoped. But Mary is determined to stay strong and survive under these new circumstances, for the sake of her children and herself, and longs for the day when she can escape back to England...
'Remember Me' is superbly written right from the beginning. We immediately learn about and empathize with Mary and it stays that way through to the very end. Pearse writes about the terrible conditions of both the Australian colony and the ships Mary is forced to travel on throughout her journeys, and I felt disgusted that any people, even convicted felons, were treated without any consideration for survival either on land or at sea. Although in a story of a journey like this there aren't any twists to speak of, unexpected things do happen and it left me pining for Mary as it seemed like she was fated for disaster at each turn. Fortunately, there is a more or less happy ending for Mary after all her struggles.
Mary Broad is a perfect protagonist: skilled, hardy, and most of all determined amongst men who consider her inferior instead of an equal. Sometimes I was put off by her behaviour, such as the scenes where she offered herself for tangible benefits, but these things were necessary for her survival and it stops her from being a Mary Sue-like character. The story of Mary Broad was real and Pearse does well into making her into a woman of the times but one whom we can relate to and eventually admire. Her characters grows from a nineteen year old filled with regret at the crime which has got her hanged, to a woman in her mid-twenties whom has survived so much but does not break down. That said, while none of the male characters are as dominating as the female protagonist they can be interesting in their own right. Mary's husband and fellow convict Will is a charismatic man who shares a few of Mary's strengths but more deeply flawed and insecure, while Marine Officer Watkin Tench is a kindly man who cares so much about Mary that I also sympathized with him a lot as well. Pearse brings them all to life as they all share a part in the horrors of the convict ships and life in Australia, yet as men they recognise Mary's strengths and survivalist nature despite her being a woman.
'Remember Me' was an amazing book. I have never been interested much in this period of history, let alone specifically the colonization of Australia, but this novel got me fascinated with how it turned out and I got very accustomed to the period and the situations of the times. I will definitely be checking out some more of Lesley Pearse's books in the future because I really enjoyed this one!
(Review also on Ciao under the username Anti_W)
It's been a while since I read a Lesley Pearse book. A while back, I'd read so many that I was getting a bit bored but having downloaded a fair bit of chick lit to read on my recent holiday, I wanted something to balance my reading list out. Onto my Kindle went this particular book when I noticed that it was going fairly cheap on Amazon.
Many of Lesley Pearse's books are set in the past and this is no exception. The story begins in the 18th century, when Mary Broad, a young girl from Cornwall, is convicted of highway robbery and sentenced to hanging. Expected to be hung, Mary is surprised when instead, she's sentenced to transportation. After spending time on a prison hulk, she finally learns where she will be transported to: Australia. There are plans to set up a convict colony in the Botany Bay area and Mary is to be one of the many prisoners sent out there to aid this. It's a long and hazardous journey out there and the convicts are in for quite a shock when they eventually arrive. It's a long way from what many of them expected and the battle for survival is just beginning.
If you're familiar with my book reviews, you'll know that I've really enjoyed most of Lesley Pearse's work (bar the odd one that didn't grab me) and have pretty much raved about some of them. This is another one that I loved. I started reading it in the lounge/bar area one evening and I was so gripped that I actually stayed down there another hour and a half after most people had left because I didn't want to put it down! I found the story extremely gripping.
Like most of Lesley Pearse's heroines, Mary is a strong woman. She has to be to have any chance of surviving first the prison hulk, then the transportation and finally life in the convict colony. Plenty of convicts die before they arrive at the new colony and if Mary hadn't been so determined and ruthless in the prison hulk, no doubt she would never have seen Australia at all. I had so much admiration for the woman. The struggles that she faced on a daily basis were horrendous and some of the things that happened to her would have broken most people. What makes the story all the more remarkable is that it's based on a true story. Mary was a real convict and really was set out to the convict colony. The basic plot is all true, bar a few characters who were made up. Her character is really brought to life and you can just imagine her adventures in your mind.
Needless to say, I thought this book was fantastic. The subject matter is not nice at times as I've hinted in my plot summary but it's a fantastic insight into a part of history that I wasn't at all familiar with before reading this book. If you're a fan of Lesley Pearse already, I'd urge you to read this book. If you've yet to delve into her work, this is definitely one of the best in my opinion (along with Belle and Never Look Back, the latter of which I will review at some point too).
?Remember me? was a book I received as a gift from Book Club Associates late last year. It is written by Lesley Pearse and was released properly early this year on January 29th 2004. I haven?t really read any of Lesley Pearse?s books but she has got quite a few bestsellers under her belt including ?Trust Me?, ?Never Look Back? and ?Father Unknown?. Obviously I don?t know what those books are like having not read them but if they are anything similar to this one they are definitely worth the read! ?Remember Me? tells the story of Mary Broad, a fisherman?s daughter from Cornwall back in 1786. A decade where there was no hot water, electricity, automobiles or any other modern conveniences we take for granted today. Another thing back then that wasn?t quite up to today?s standards was the law system. People such as Mary, were sentenced to be hung for stealing; something that people today would call a minor offence. Things were very, very different then and this book certainly gives you some insight into what life was really like. The thing I also like about this book is the fact that it is based on a true story. Lesley researched back to the 1700?s when all this happened to Mary but obviously she couldn?t find out everything so her imagination took over and completed the missing gaps. So without further ado here is what you are really here for?My book review starting with a little info on it?s main character. *** Mary Broad *** As I mentioned Mary Broad came from Cornwall and was the daughter of a fisherman back in 1786. She is a very independent and adventurous girl unlike her sister and that is where her downfall begins. She tries branching out on her own, creating new unruly friends, but this only leads her to steal from someone she has a disagree
ment with. From then on Mary?s life takes a turn for the worst and she is sentenced to be hung for stealing. *** Plotline spoiler *** Although Mary?s sentence is for her to be hung, the prosecutors? change their minds and decide they want to commute her along with hundreds of other prisoners. I didn?t really understand what was so bad about her being commuted because after all it?s better than getting hung isn?t it? Well, if Mary?s journey is anything to go by it seems like being hung would actually be the best solution! She and her fellow prisoners are ordered to be commuted to Australia where they will live out the rest of their sentence, and the first part of that sentence is to be spent travelling and fighting for their survival. Now these days if someone was to be sent to Australia, they would travel by plane or maybe by ferry. Well I don?t think there were any planes around in 1786 and the ?Ferries? were more like a larger version of a fishing boat with conditions that can only be described as a life of grime paradise. Australia hadn?t really been discovered and the only thing that was known about the country was that hostile natives lived there and things could get difficult when they arrive. On the ?ship? the prisoners were strictly kept below deck. I found this part of the book fairly distressing because it told of the women with their small children lying in their own sick and excrement because the guards never cleaned down there. The women were literally dying around Mary and nobody was willing to speak up. To them what point was there in complaining? They much preferred to take things out on each other rather than stand up for what was right. But Mary wasn?t like that. She was too independent and fiery to let things go that should be talked about. She refused to let these conditions beat her. Where most peopl
e laid down to die, Mary searched for ways to get up on deck so that she could escape some of the diseases that were lurking about down there. Although the men and women were kept separately, they could still talk through the walls of the ship. Mary found through talking to them, that the captain was a fair man. He seemed different to the guards on the ship and the men said he would be a reliable source if Mary could see him. So Mary concocts a plan to get her to see Captain Tench. To cut a long story short her plan works and she gets some food and a little time above deck as planned. But it isn?t enough, more and more people are dying and there isn?t much Tench can do for her. She gets approached by another girl down below deck who tells her that in order to survive she ?sells? herself to one of the guards. She then suggests Mary does the same to look after herself. Mary finds a suitable guard and offers herself to him, which he eagerly accepts. In return Mary gets more food and more baths. The scenes in the book where Mary meets with the guard are really detailed and it makes you feel for her but she?s tough and she takes it in her stride. After all, she?s a survivor. So before even getting to Australia people are dying every day, Mary along with other girls are selling themselves and now Mary finds that she is pregnant. Now in those days there wasn?t any medication that the women could have to aid them during childbirth like there is today. Now I haven?t had children personally but I know people that have, and they have said that it is one of the most painful experiences they have ever gone through and that was with medication. So imagine Mary?s pain when she gives birth below deck with just the help of her fellow prisoners and the ships onboard doctor. But still showing her courage and determination Mary immediat
ely warms to her child and sets out to protect both herself and her baby girl from the cruelty of the world around her. The journey to Australia takes a long, long time and along the way Mary and Captain Tench seem to fall for each other. But it simply cannot be because he cannot have a relationship with a convict. He wouldn?t do that to his family never mind risk hurting Mary with the pain of everyone rejecting her while she?s with him. Their non-existent romance is like a roller coaster ride and it leaves you frustrated with them both because in the end you just want them to get together because you know that they are made for each other. But they don?t get together and that, along with a lot of other things to come, is one of the sad things about the book. This time true love doesn?t win. But Mary knows that in order to survive when she and her daughter reach Australia, she needs the protection of a man. It was sad but true back then that women had to depend on a man to protect them. There were rumours going around that the men were like wild animals that had been starved of sex for months. The worry was that the women would be used viciously to satisfy the needs of the men. Tench suggested to Mary one day that she should marry one of the men called Will. Mary agreed that Will would probably be the wisest choice because he was by far the best-looking guy on the ship and he seemed reliable. She was already friends with him but she still wasn?t sure that he would want to marry her. He did though and his alliance proved vital to Mary when they arrived on the island. This was by far one of the most disturbing chapters in the book. The first night on the island the men were behaving exactly like animals, showing no true emotions. All they cared about was satisfying their needs and rape was the way that they did that. The way
Lesley describes the storm that night, and the fear of all the women is impeccable. The way the men were simply pouncing on the women and abusing them for all to see in front of everyone including the children. Some men were even sick enough to look at the children, thinking about raping them too. When Mary is chased by one of the men, I felt every movement she made. The chase, the fear, I was captivated by the moment. The only way she escaped was Will turning up just at the right time as one of the men was forcing her to the ground. He punches the guy and you can?t help feeling the relief that Mary must have felt. After a while Mary fell pregnant again with Wills child. Will seemed pleased and Mary was happy because Will was already such a good father to her daughter even though she wasn?t his child, so she had no doubt he would be a great father to the new edition to their family. So although Will wasn?t Mary?s true love and their marriage was one of convenience, things between them were looking good and Mary always thought that she would grow to love him. I haven?t really talked about Will and Mary that much yet for the fear of rambling on and making this opinion far too long, but I do feel that a little about their life on the island is needed to be explained about as it is such a big part of the book. When they first arrived on the island Mary had few friends but the one best friend she had fell out with her shortly after arriving. This was due to Mary being married to Will and being allowed to live in a hut while the others slept in tents. The women hated Mary and longed to see her fail. Will became a fisherman on the island, being the main person who caught everybody?s dinner. He was relied upon and so when he and Mary asked for a hut, the guards considered it to be a priority not to disagree with
them for fear of him refusing to fish anymore. Will however gets greedy and he starts stealing the fish for him and Mary. He of course gets found out and endures a public humiliation as he is whipped until he bleeds. Mary is devastated. Will has turned into someone who drinks a lot and even abuses her. He rapes her on one occasion but Mary still forgives him later on because she knows she needs him. Not because she is weak though you understand, but because she knows he has skills that can help her. The food is running out and everybody is getting hungry again, just like when they were aboard the ships. There were more and more convicts being sent to the island and more and more people were being raped and were dying. Mary begins to worry about her children. Her baby boy wasn?t strong enough to survive much more starvation and her daughter was also getting very ill. She made up a plan to escape the island with Will. They would use the fishing boat to sail out with the help of a couple of other convicts that they could trust. To cut a long story short this works but it starts off yet another long, dangerous journey for them. Along the way Mary see?s both her children die and the men start giving up all hope of surviving. Once again Mary shows her bravery and determination as she brings the men back from being disheartened to them fighting for their lives. The final section of the book is them getting caught and sent to London where they are sentenced to be hung. Mary is relieved in a way because she has suffered so much over the past few years and now she just wants it to be over with. However she gets recognised in the local paper when her story is published about how she escaped and lost her children etc and a lawyer offers to help her. However he says he cannot help her fellow convicts who also got captured and so she refuses the help.
She wants them all to get helped together and she?s willing to give up her freedom for her friends. However, they talk her into accepting the help and eventually she is set free. *** My overall opinion of the book *** Although this review has been really long, there is a lot of information that I have left out because if I did mention everything we?d be here for a very long time! The book is 500 pages long so definitely not the right choice for somebody who doesn?t like long books! I have to say though in its defence that once you start reading you?ll find it hard to put it down and you won?t notice the length of the book at all. This has moved me to tears in more than one place and it?s the only book that I have read where I have felt almost every emotion the character felt all the way through. The courage and determination is incredible and it truly is an inspirational story. I?d say it?s more of a book for the girls and not really something that would interest the guys, but that just depends on your taste in books. I have read a lot of reviews on this book and I haven?t seen one bad opinion of it so don?t just take my word for it. I think Lesley Pearse is an amazing writer and I will definitely be reading some of her other stuff if I get the chance. *** Where to buy the book *** I've seen this in Tesco for £3.99 and I think it will probably be in bookstores such as Borders or WH Smiths for example. You can also buy it online. Amazon has it for sale like Tesco for just £3.99?an absolute bargain! Prices will obviously vary depending on where you shop but you should find it for a reasonable price. It is published by Penguin in case you are interested but apart from that I think I?ve now covered everything. I hope this review has helped y
ou :) Now rush out and by it! Aimee xxx
The Queen of Storytellers is back - with a triumphant tale of one woman's struggle over adversity. In 1786 a fisherman's daughter from Cornwall called Mary Broad was sentenced to be hung for theft. But her sentence was commuted, and she was transported to Australia, one of the first convicts to arrive there. How Mary escaped the harsh existence of the colony and found true love, and how she was captured and taken back to London in chains, only to be released after a trial where she was defended by no less than James Boswell, is one of the most gripping and moving stories of human endeavour (based on an amazing true story) you will ever read.