The only two who want to emigrate are Liza Docherty, a Lancashire lass who would go anywhwere to escape from a marriage her father is trying to force on her with an unsavoury older neighbour, and Andrew Pringle, an impractical dreamer, who is dragging his unwilling wife and daughter with him.
Benedict Caine has been bribed to emigrate by the local landowner, Saul Ludlam, so that he can help the son, Josiah Ludlam, who is in disgrace, to settle in Australia as a farmer. Saul is sending Josiah as far away as he can and hopes never to see him again. Josiah's wife is ill and knows she can never return to England.
What will these people make of their new lives? As it often does, migration causes other people to follow the group out to the Peel Region of Western Australia, bringing new complications in their lives. Some will die, some will succeed, and others will move on from Western Australia, either back to England or across to Victoria. For Liza and Benedict, the central characters, there will be cruel disappointments before they can win their way through to a happier life.
Lancashire Lass has been published in hardback, paperback, large print, audiobook and now ebook formats. The paperback edition comes and goes in print, so if you can't find it, order it from your local bookshop.
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Most historical novels about Australia have focused on the eastern states, round Sydney and Melbourne. I enjoy setting my novels in my own state of Western Australia, which is as big as ten Texases. In the 1860s it had a population of about 30,000 only, most of them in the south-west corner of the state. It was fascinating doing the research and learning more about the region in which I live. In 1860 Britain was criss-crossed by railways. In Western Australia there were none, and only a couple of small tracks for transporting timber or ore. It must have come as a shock to the early settlers.