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  • Dangerous Women

    Dangerous Women (Hope Adams) is a fictional story based on some history. There was a convict ship with women aboard who together made a quilt. The Rajah was taking the women to Vandiemen's Land, Australia (Tasmania today) and sailed from April 1st to July 19th. Ms Adams gives us a glimpse of how life might have been on the ship and a fictional murder to solve. I want to thank NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for an early copy to review.

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  • History with a dash of flash

    I received a free electronic ARC of this novel from Netgalley, Hope Adams, and Berkley Publishing. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Dangerous Women of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. Hope Adams writes a tight tale with compassion and heart. She is an author I will follow. This voyage of the Rajah, carrying 180+ women prisoners from London to Van Diemen's Land, also known as Hobart's Island (also known as Tasmania) in the Australian Islands, lasted but 105 days, from April 5, 1841, to July 19, 1841. Hope Adams give us those days, packed with details that color our world for the duration. The intersection of the worlds of the prisoners, their support matron, the ship's doctor, and minister, and the crew of the Rajah, the various ladies' attempts to move from life as a prisoner to a place of hope and growth are impressively presented. And the mystery is not obvious, even unto the end. This story is told in a back-and-forth pattern easily followed - chapters are labeled 'Then' and 'Now' for our convenience, Then being before the murder, Now being after. Each chapter is also from the perspective of one of the prisoners or their matron, Kezia Bertie, again named in the chapter heading and clearly outlining the personality and growing independence of these ladies. I am not always a fan of this type of delivery, but it works well in this tale. Fiction based on historical fact is one of my favorite genres and extensive facts and sources are shared with us at the books ending. Hope Adams also shares with us the websites that feature the Rajah Quilt, the project designed by Kezia to bring these women together with one focus and perhaps a craft they can pursue once in Hobart. And there is such a quilt, displayed now at the National Gallery of Australia. Wikipedia has an excellent photo and details of this crossing as well. It is hard to believe this is a debut novel. I can't wait for Hope Adams's next work!

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  • A journey to second chances

    Dangerous Women by Hope Adams is a book about second chances. The novel is actually based on a true story about a group of convicted women being forced to board a ship called the Rajah to be relocated across the world from London to Australia as their "punishment". Relocation to some of these women seems to be the worst punishment imaginable but to others its a new beginning, a second chance to start out on a different foot. The women aboard the ship are a rough bunch. Most if not all of them have had a tough life. They grew up lower class with abusive families and knew no better than to steal in order to scrape out a living for themselves. Their actions were wrong but the reader can sympathize with their reasonings in some instances of their crimes. Their matron, Kezia, has tasked herself with trying to smooth out some of the rough edges the ladies have. She has over one hundred days to get herself familiar with them and try to learn their stories during their voyage from London to Australia. When Kezia first addresses the women on board as a whole she says, "The time at sea is a chance for you to improve your lives and you should see it in that light". At the beginning of the voyage Kezia selects a group of eighteen women to help her make a patchwork quilt that she hopes will bring them all closer, as well as, teach the women a trade. It's rough going at first. Most of these women are loners and are not used to having attention drawn to themselves. They all quarrel with each other in the beginning but soon turn all their focus into making a beautiful quilt. Personally I am not sure that Kezia had it in her mind in the beginning that with each stitch the women would be stitching together everlasting friendships but in the end that is exactly what happened. Their journey was definitely not without its struggles. Some pretty tragic incidences happened along the way that brought the women closer together and brought out secrets that one woman never wanted to be reveled, all of this sounds vague but really enhances the mystery and suspense of the story to keep the reader enthralled. I greatly enjoyed Dangerous Women. I felt it was excellent story telling and a glimpse into what life would have been like for a convicted woman in nineteenth century London. In the end knowing that the story was based on a true story and that the ship and women actually existed was spellbinding. This book has definitely peaked my interest into finding out more about the Rajah and the beautiful quilt these women made that still exist and can still be seen. It was also a heart warming story to modern day women that our past doesn't necessarily have to define our futures. Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for and advanced copy for an honest review.

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