Van Diemen's Land, 1827. When Bridget Crack flees her cruel master's isolated property to walk back to Hobart Town she has no idea just how far off the road she will go, or how hard it will be to ever get back on it.
When Bridget arrived in the colony, she had never seen such a place as Hobart Town. A spirited girl, more educated than most in the town, she found the life of an indentured domestic servant intolerable, but when she is punished for her insubordination and sent from one place to another, each significantly worse than the last, she realises there are far worse places to be. The worst of all is where she ends up - the 'Interior' where the hard cases are sent - a brutally hard life with a cruel master miles from civilisation.
She runs from there and finds herself imprisoned by the impenetrable Tasmanian wilderness. What she finds there-what finds her-is Matt Sheedy, a man on the run, who saves her from certain death. But her precarious existence among volatile and murderous bushrangers is a different kind of hell. Surrounded by roaring rivers and towering columns of rock, hunted by soldiers and at the mercy of killers, Bridget finds herself in an impossible situation. In the face of terrible darkness, what will she have to do to survive?
Bridget Crack is a gripping and moving story of a woman's struggle for survival in a beautiful and brutal landscape. Bridget Crack is a unique and deeply accomplished novel by a rare talent.
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Kate Cooper manages the translation rights for Bridget Crack
The audio rights are handled by Grace Heifetz.
The debut novel of Melbourne's Rachel Leary is a powerful, bleak telling of the terrible conditions that faced female convicts in Van Diemen's Land, and she pulls no punches in detailing the degradation and despair they faced.Corinna Hente
The Herald Sun
Leary loves keeping us on edge, guessing, waiting for something horrible to happen, which it invariably does. This is one of the book’s biggest pleasures... Her mode of operation is to play with our expectations and hint at possibilities before pulling the rug out from under us...this speaks to the book’s bigger ambition to renovate the convict saga rather than repeat it... What becomes clear after reading Bridget Crack is there is a good deal of life left in the convict saga. Leary has set about dragging the genre into the 21st century with this smart, unsettling update. That there’s a sense of menace on every page is only an added pleasure. This is the kind of book that keeps you reading past midnight, holding on for dear life. An incredible debut by a brilliant new talent.