Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Read for our f2f bookclub meeting last month, this book triggered a fantastic, full-table, sleeves rolled up discussion. Which is always a very very good thing.

Whilst overall personally I thought this was a pretty good book, and a particularly interesting one to be reading in the week when our Prime Minister decided to take on the Leader of the Opposition in a long-overdue calling out of his behaviour, there were themes in the book that really really resonated.

There were also aspects that were less successful, as pointed out by members of the bookclub, why was their a need to connect Female Suffrage with Lesbian themes? Another element of the book that really raised some discussion was the ending - whilst some readers felt it was satisfactory, there was another group who found it disappointing. A cop-out for the villain if you like.

But, regardless of the minor nitpicks and some of the things that really worked, a long, fruitful and fascinating discussion. Great bookclub book.

Year of Publication

A saga of love, litigation and murder in Melbourne at the time of Federation. In Melbourne in 1899, politician John Deveraux falls in love with Susan Fairfax, businesswoman and suffragette. Thwarted when he discovers her secret, he seeks revenge.

Then his own past begins to catch up with him. A professional assassin arrives from California and the plot thickens with love affairs, unsolved crimes, the fight for women's rights, parliamentary feuds, and a trial. This novel proceeds through the drawing rooms, business world and courts of late nineteenth century Melbourne.

It contains a rich cast of characters, layer after layer of plot, curious social details and many arresting scenes. Famous historical figures make cameo appearances as Federation unfolds in the background, and the young nation steps with high hopes into the Twentieth Century.

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