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"Old Mary" 1901   By: (1855-1913)

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"Old Mary" is a captivating piece of historical fiction set in the early 1900s, written by Louis Becke. The novel takes readers on a journey through time, immersing them in the mesmerizing world of Australia's colonial past.

Through an engaging narrative, Becke introduces us to the eponymous character, Old Mary. She is a strong-willed and resilient woman, who perseveres in the face of endless challenges. As we delve into her life story, it becomes evident that she is not just an ordinary individual – she embodies the spirit and resilience of an entire era.

Becke's writing style is exquisite, weaving lyrical descriptions of Australia's rugged landscapes and vivid portrayals of its cultural mosaic. The author's keen eye for detail shines through, enabling readers to feel the oppressive heat, inhale the scent of eucalyptus, and hear the distant chatter of bustling towns. This attention to sensory experiences brings the story to life, making it almost tangible.

What truly sets this novel apart is its exploration of social dynamics and the struggles faced by women during this time period. Old Mary's experiences expose the harsh realities of a patriarchal society, where women were often marginalized and their dreams suppressed. Yet, despite the odds, she fiercely fights for her independence and happiness, making her a symbol of hope for readers.

Becke's character development is impeccable, allowing us to witness Old Mary's growth and transformation throughout the book. From her humble beginnings as a young Irish immigrant to her eventual success as a thriving businesswoman, we see her evolve into a force to be reckoned with. The author presents her flaws and vulnerabilities with honesty, making her relatable and endearing to readers.

The pacing of "Old Mary" is steady, ensuring that the narrative unfolds smoothly and effortlessly. Becke expertly balances moments of tranquility with sudden twists, leaving readers eagerly flipping through the pages to discover what lies ahead. The excitement and tension build steadily, culminating in a satisfying climax that ties all loose ends together.

While the story brilliantly documents a specific time period, it also serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring strength of the human spirit. Becke successfully captures the essence of resilience, independence, and the pursuit of one's dreams, leaving readers inspired long after they have turned the final page.

"Old Mary" is a hauntingly beautiful novel that seamlessly blends history, adventure, and an exploration of the human condition. Louis Becke's masterful storytelling transports readers to a bygone era, allowing them to witness the triumphs and tribulations of Old Mary's extraordinary life. If you are seeking a captivating historical tale that lingers in the heart and mind, then this book is an absolute must-read.

First Page:


By Louis Becke

T. Fisher Unwin, 1901


Early one morning, just as the trade wind began to lift the white mountain mist which enveloped the dark valleys and mountain slopes of the island, Denison, the supercargo of the trading schooner Palestine , put off from her side and was pulled ashore to the house of the one white trader. The man's name was Handle, and as he heard the supercargo's footstep he came to the door and bade him good morning.

"How are you, Randle?" said the young man, shaking hands with the quiet voiced, white haired old trader, and following him inside. "I'm going for a day's shooting while I have the chance. Can you come?"

Randle shook his head. "Would like to, but can't spare the time to day; but Harry and the girls will be delighted to go with you. Wait a minute, and have a cup of coffee first. They'll be here presently."

Denison put down his gun and took a seat in the cool, comfortable looking sitting room, and in a few minutes Hester and Kate Randle and their brother came in. The two girls were both over twenty years of age. Hester, the elder, was remarkably handsome, and much resembled her father in voice and manner. Kate was of much smaller build, full of vivacity, and her big, merry brown eyes matched the dimples on her soft, sun tanned cheeks... Continue reading book >>

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