Title: Remember Me
Author: Lesley Pearse
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: She made a mistake and now she’ll never see home again . . .
Mary, a Cornish mariner’s daughter, makes the biggest mistake of her short life when she steals a silk hat. Convicted and sentenced to be transported to Australia, she endures horrific conditions aboard ship before landing in a brutal and barbaric country. It will take all her courage just to survive.
But Mary is also determined to make something of herself in this rugged man’s world. And she dreams that one day she will find a way of crossing the cruel seas that lie between her and home . . .
Based on a true story, Remember Me brings Mary Broad vividly to life in this moving story of a woman triumphing against overwhelming odds.
*NOTE* I read this book back in January.
This is my 6th Lesley Pearse, I went into this book not knowing what it was about. I try not to read the blurb of a book, especially if I have previously read another book by the same author. Once I started this book I was pleasantly surprised about the content. I started this book on Australia Day weekend which marks the anniversary of the arrival, of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson New South Wales in 1788. This coincidently was what this book was based on!
The book opens with Mary being sentenced for committing highway Robbery the punishment is being hanged! Mary is sent to prison to await trial and will be stuck in a grotty cell to wait out her fate. The conditions of the prison in which Mary arrives are despicable and Pearse does a great job of describing them, as at times it made my skin crawl! Before she gets to trial however Mary soon discovers that she has been pardoned and will be sent with a select few to a new prison colony in Australia New South Wales (NSW) While Mary should be delighted as she gets to live, she finds herself unsure. Although she is being pardoned it means she will never be able to return home, she decides that she will never speak to her family again as she feels it would bring shame to their door. We join Mary on her trip to NSW I must admit that the conditions of the transportation ships shocked me and I would say they were worse than the prison. It is no wonder so many didn’t make it! They are starving, lying in their own and everyone else’s I might add filth, riddled with lice and overrun with rats. Just imagine having to be on a ship for as long as it would take from the UK to NSW let alone with these appalling conditions. Not only does she have to deal with these poor conditions most of the officers on board are downright nasty. They really do not care what happens to the prisoners only one guard had any shed of human decency because of this I became a little in love with Officer Tench the way he treated the prisoners and wasn’t such a brute really made him a proper gentleman. Mary. What. A. Women as the book progresses I became more and more in awe of this her and the fact this is based on a true story makes it hit home more too. When they finally arrive they soon find out it isn’t quite what they expected and their fight for survival had only just begun. We ourselves are taken on a journey of what it must be like to arrive in a foreign country with pretty much the clothes (if you have any left!) on your back. Pearse writes with great compassion you find yourself cheering Mary on as the story continues.
Remember me, was a thought provoking, sad, but wonderful book that had even more impact with me due to when I read it. I am slowly working my way through Pearse’s back catalogue of which there is quite a lot!
My Rating: 4.5*