A disappointment after The Thorn Birds and Morgan's Run. The last third was interesting and moved along, but the first 2/3 was long and slow which spoiled the story for me.
I liked this one much better than the Thorn Birds.
From the best selling author of the Thorn Birds,a picture of the rich in Australia who made their money the hard way and then had to live with it.
This historical fiction novel is based in Australia during the 19th century. Alexander Kinross has made a great deal of money searching for gold in the country. Feeling financially secure, he decides that it is time to find a wife even though he is in love with a madam who has dibs on his heart. And, he intends to keep his mistress, Ruby, who understands who he is. Nevertheless he wants a respectable woman who will raise his children and turns to Scotland and a family he knows for a bride.
Elizabeth Drummond is only sixteen when she finds herself on a ship bound for a strange country and a strange man who will be her husband. She is young, sheltered and inexperienced. He is older, traveled a good deal and experienced. What he expects is a mother and a wife he can show off in the communities where he lives. As expected, the marriage is in name only. Elizabeth discovers that her father "sold" her, a process Alexander facilitated in revenge for the father's treatment of him earlier in his life.
Elizabeth longs for romance which Alexander cannot give her nor can he understand this sensitive, beautiful woman. Strangely enough, his mistress, Ruby, likes Elizabeth and they become friends. Aware of her role as a mistress, she works to help Elizabeth understand Alexander. Thus the two women are linked to a man driven to succeed at whatever he does.
The story progresses along these lines. A daughter is born and Elizabeth focuses on her role as a mother. Alexander continues his search to increase wealth sharing his efforts with Ruby. At one point he becomes so obsessed with his importance he makes drastic changes in the company, cutting workers and wages of those who remain. While it may be a bit sappy, he finally returns to earlier tactics of taking care of workers. People do change! Yet the ending is not what I expected.
Written in the manner of "The Thorn Birds", this book covers the years 1872 to 1900 and takes place in New South Wales, Australia. Memorable characters, a good love story, and lots of historical references in the development of this area. Some technical sections on gold mining & steam engines and some politics, which would appeal to men.
I found it hard to put this book down, really unusual considering the protagonist is not a very likable person. But the excitement of a rags-to-riches story, together with rich characterizations, makes it irresistible. The books throbs with passion, not just romantic passion, but passion for riches, for achievement, for career, for one's children, and for revenge. I couldnt stop reading it, or thinking about it for a long time afterward.