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, naïve young Rachel Winter, and reliable and capable Harriet Clarke.
On the voyage to the other side of the world their friendship becomes and unbreakable bond – but there are others on board who will change their lives for ever.
But worse is to come as they arrive in New South Wales and the threat of separation looms. In the land behind the sun, the only thing they have is each other …
I have an ancestor named Mary Anstey who pinched two silk handkerchiefs in Birmingham UK and was transported on the Lady Juliana (of the Second Fleet), arriving in New South Wales on 3 June, 1790. The Lady Juliana was known as the floating brothel because it transported female convicts only, and allegedly every seaman on board took a woman as a sexual partner. Mary married William Standley, who had been a Marine Private on HMS Sirius (flagship of the First Fleet), arriving New South Wales on 26 January, 1788.
I don't know if Mary did any sex work or not on her way to Australia. But I thought what if she did, and what if she carried on when she got there, and made friends with two or three other girls who were really quite different to her and they became really close friends and stuck together no matter what? And that became Behind the Sun.
'(C)aptures perfectly the grittiness and hardships of life on London's streets and in the city's jails, the gruelling journeys aboard convict ships set sail to the other side of the world, and life in the colony.' Newcastle Herald