Recommended for fans of convict-era historical fiction

Fled by Meg Keneally

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Convict-era historical fiction based on the true story of the daring escape of Mary Bryant (and others) in an open boat from Sydney Cove to Kupang, Timor.

The known aspects of Mary’s life, which are rather sketchy, are well embedded in the fictional retelling. Jenny Trelawney (Mary) is a plausible eighteenth-century convict woman. The trials and tribulations of those tough times are well-depicted.

The use of language, in general, reflects the era. However, for characters who are, in the main, illiterate and uneducated, the dialogue is rather too eloquent. After her return to England, Jenny acquires a wealthy benefactor.

From there, the story takes a ‘Pygmalion’ turn that leads to an odd fairytale ending. Why? In the author’s own words, ‘I wrote for Jenny the ending I feel Mary deserves.’ Is this approach justified? Few details are known about the real Mary Bryant, so … why not?


About Debbie Terranova

I write stories of mystery, history, and adventure that will inspire readers to question accepted 'truths' and explore alternative explanations. I call this approach ‘fiction with a conscience’. While settings, historical events, and some characters may be real or based on research, the narratives and central characters are generally the creation of my imagination. I have published four novels, the latest being 'The Bootmaker of Berlin' (WWII historical fiction) released in January 2023.
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