This book tells the story of several women who were transported from the British Isles to Australia for crimes usually involving theft. Transporting the prisoners to a colony was viewed as a reasonable solution by the government to colonize an area few upstanding citizens seemed willing to settle. It also helped rid the cities of criminals that were overcrowding the prisons. The horrors of imprisonment, the transportation, forced labor, and the brutality the prisoners(often women) would face were related in this book.
I found it annoying that instead of using the name Agnes for one of the prisoners the book focuses on, often the author would use the phrase "the grey eyed girl". I understand using the phrase once or twice, but more than half the time was too much. It was a strange way to try to relate to the character.
The writing was very descriptive. There was a plethora of adjectives that were largely unnecessary to the story of these women. Although this improved slightly in the last half of the book when we left Agnes' story for the other women, it was still too much description. The story was over dramatized, and seemed biased. This made it difficult at some points to tell what was Swiss' opinion, and what actually happened. The over description and bias made it a disjointed book and difficult to read.
I was looking forward to reading this book because I had seen a documentary about women in prisons being sent to the colonies in Australia. I thought this book did not convey the story in a clear way. It did not hold my attention, and I had to push myself to finish it.
I would recommend reading a different book if you are interested in this topic.