Behind the Sun

Behind the Sun

HarperCollins Publishers Australia, 2012


Irreverent and streetwise prostitute Friday Woolfe is in London's notorious Newgate Gaol, awaiting transportation. There, she meets three other girls: intelligent and opportunistic thief Sarah Morgan, naive young Rachel Winter, and reliable and capable seamstress Harriet Clarke.

On the voyage to New South Wales their friendship becomes an unbreakable bond - but there are others on board who will change their lives forever. Friday makes an implacable enemy of Bella Jackson, a vicious woman whose power seems undiminished by her arrest and transportation, while Harriet is taken under the wing of an idealistic doctor, James Downey. Rachel catches the eye of a sinister passenger with more than honour on his mind.

When they finally arrive on the other side of the world, they are confined to the grim and overcrowded Parramatta Female Factory. But worse is to come as the threat of separation looms. In the land behind the sun, the only thing they have is each other ...

Behind this book ...

I have several Australian ancestors who were convicts and the more I looked into their histories, the more I thought, ooh, this would make a good book. Which of course has been done before, but not by me! My great x 5 grandmother, Mary Ann Anstey, arrived in Australia on the Lady Julian(a) in 1790, transported for shoplifting a couple of silk handkerchiefs in Birmingham. She married my great x 5 grandfather, William Standley, a marine who arrived in Australia on the First Fleet's HMS Sirius. Their daughter, my great x 4 grandmother Mary, married James Lowe, transported on the Minorca in 1801 for pinching printed cotton in Mitcham, Surrey. Behind the Sun is inspired by these characters, but is not specifically based on any one of them.


Reviews ...

'Historian Deborah Challinor is a compelling storyteller. Behind the Sun is a fascinating look at 1830s Australian history through women's eyes, filled with rich descriptions of the realities of their day to day lives, the constant threat of ill health and death from disease, injury and childbirth.'

Hoopla Literary Society, November 30, 2012


'This is girl power, historical fiction-style. Our four heroines meet in the late 1820s in London's Newgate Prison ... They soon board a ship to Australia where they'll carry out their sentences and, during the months at sea, form a strong bond. The way they look after each other during some very tough times indeed is moving, and Challinor is a master at keeping you invested in the story.'

New Zealand Herald/Canvas, 3 November 2012


'Deborah Challinor's status as one of New Zealand's most popular and bestselling historical novelists will not be dented by the publication of Behind the Sun ... I look forward to following the fortunes of these fascinating women.'

Nelson Mail, 24 November 2012


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