Dangerous Women by Hope Adams

Today Mandie shares her thoughts on Dangerous Women by Hope Adams. Thanks to publisher Michael Joseph who provided the #gifted copy for review. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 4 March 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph

About the Book

London, 1841.

The Rajah sails for Australia.

On board are 180 women convicted of petty crimes, sentenced to start a new life half way across the world.

Daughters, sisters, mothers – they’ll never see home or family again. Despised and damned, all they have now is each other.

Until the murder.

As the fearful hunt for a killer begins, everyone on board is a suspect.

The investigation risks tearing their friendships apart . . .

But if the killer isn’t found, could it cost them their last chance of freedom?

Based on a real-life voyage, Dangerous Women is a sweeping tale of confinement, hope and the terrible things we do to survive.

Mandie’s Thoughts

I was drawn to Dangerous Women as this is a story based on historical events. Whilst the main premise of the story is fiction, I love books that have that mix a bit of truth in there especially if it is set in the past as I always feel that it gives me a little insight into things that I am not aware of but have formed part of how we live today.

Kezia Hayter took the decision to escort 180 convicted women on their journey aboard the Rajah to serve out their sentence in Australia and hopefully make new lives for themselves. At 23 she is incredibly young and inexperienced, but she believes that she can unite these women by picking the most talented of them to complete a quilt by the end of the journey. When one of the women is attacked Kezia is determined that she is going to help the Captain get to the bottom of who was responsible and ensure that all the women are treated fairly no matter what crime they had committed to earn them a place on the ship in the first place.

The story is told through the eyes of just a few of the characters on board, each giving a different perspective of life on board ship, how they came to be there and the conditions they found themselves in going between timelines. Some are keeping secrets that they really don’t want to be known and you wonder if these secrets have a part to play in the events on board the ship.

There are so many elements to this book that it holds your attention throughout as you watch the women form alliances and friendships, slowly coming to trust Kezia as someone who they can turn to. As the journey reaches its final destination, the truth behind what happened and why is quite heart-breaking and you see how life and circumstance had broken spirits and minds and leave you hoping that they all find a better life going forward. This is the debut novel by Hope Adams, but you would never know it. This is definitely one for fans of historical fiction and those who like me will find themselves digging into the parts of the story based in fact to find out more about what inspired the book. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

About the Author

Hope Adams was born in Jerusalem and spent her early childhood in many different countries, including Nigeria and British North Borneo. She now lives near Cambridge. She has written books for children and adults as Adèle Geras.