Candice Proctor's "Night In Eden"

Night in Eden - Candice Proctor

A rather misleading title for this book - there was nothing remotely like Eden to be found in the English colony at New South Wales, Australia, in 1809. The heroine has been convicted of killing her husband and transported to Australia, leaving a 3-year-old daughter behind in England and giving birth to a son, and losing him to disease, while on the ship. And that's just the intro! Lots of brutality and misery follows: floggings, rape, floggings, suicide, floggings, deaths of children, floggings - you get the picture. I don't know much about the beginnings of European settlement in Australia, so I have to take the author's word for it that it was as bad as this. I found the hero's attraction to the heroine hard to believe, since the heroine was starved, ragged, beaten and grieving for her lost children and the hero was still grieving for his recently deceased wife. The heroine's attraction to the hero was even harder to believe, given the state that she was in and the fact that he was her master in a virtual master-slave relationship.

Despite these quibbles, the book is very interesting, although the final chapters with the "dead" husband's re-appearance were unconvincing. The author could easily have left that part out.