Isn't this a great cover. I don't know who the girl is, but the freckles are gorgeous and just as I imagined the heroine of my story. I called her Bridget, not just because it's a fine Irish name, but because I discovered in my research that it was so common among housemaids in the Australian colonies that the wealthy English women who employed them began to refer to all female servants as 'bridgets'.
My Bridget has had a hard life before she gets to Australia, though. When she's just 11 years old, her father dies and the rest of her family are forced out of their home by the cruelty of their English landlord. This is the 1840s when Ireland suffered the terrible effects of the 'Potato Blight.' Hundreds of thousands starved and with nowhere to live and no money to buy food Bridget's family seem likely to be among them. The only alternative is the Workhouse where disease, hard work and the even harder hearts of the managers might prove just as deadly.
There's hope, though. A scheme to send young women to Australia to work as housemaids is looking for applicants. Bridget is too young, but when fate plays its cruel tricks again, there's a chance, if Bridget is brave enough. And so it seems likely she'll become a New Australian, yet Bridget's not one to do things the way everyone expects. And she's certainly no housemaid. She loves horses and wants to spend her life working with them. Will she get the chance, and what will happen to the rest of the family left behind? Can she save them, when she's so young herself?
"Bridget: A New Australian" is part of a series about the fiesty girls who have come to Australia in the past 200 years to make a new life for themseves. I know you'll like her spirit and when you get to the part about the rat, try not to have nightmares.