Time for another giveaway!

Echo Publishing is very kindly offering 5 copies of Free by Meg Keneally. Inspired by historical figures and actual events, Free shines a light on the indomitable figure who rose from horse thief to the merchant queen of Sydney Cove. In a story told with warmth and compassion for those who struggled, survived, and sometimes even prevailed – and for those who did not – Meg Keneally once again brings the complexity and brutality of colonial Australia vividly to life. 

About the book

‘It is a harsh land – yes, for you especially – but people can also rise here …’ 

Born into poverty in eighteenth-century England, her future was predetermined. But throughout her life Molly Thistle refused to follow the path laid out before her. Her headstrong nature, disdain for convention and desire for freedom were always destined to determine her fate. 

Following her involvement in a fatal childhood prank, Molly dresses as a boy and flees on a stolen horse. Her new-found freedom ends with her arrest and an uncertain journey towards Britain’s farthest prison colony. 

Undaunted, Molly navigates her way through a society that denies power to her sex and scorns those who have not ‘arrived free’. Her quick wit, resilience, and ambition will attract the love of her life and the opportunity to forge a commercial empire. And those very same characteristics will create enemies intent on destroying all that she has battled to build for herself and her family. 


Meg Keneally worked as a public affairs officer, sub-editor, freelance feature writer, reporter, and talkback radio producer, before co-founding a financial service public relations company, which she then sold after having her first child. For more than ten years, Meg has worked in corporate affairs for listed financial services companies, and doubles as a part-time SCUBA diving instructor. She is co-author with Tom Keneally of The Soldier’s Curse and The Unmourned, the first two books in the Monsarrat Series. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two children.

How To Enter: 

  1. Ensure you are subscribed to the HNSA newsletter.
  2. Leave a comment on our InstagramFacebook, Linkedin or blog post below to go into the draw. 

Five winners will be drawn via

Contest ends 21 May at 5pm AEST. Good luck!


  1. Colonial Australia, horse thievery, indomitable female and commercial ambition – this sounds great fun. I would love to read it!

  2. What a wonderful opportunity to win a copy of FREE. I love historical novels and hope to publish my own one day. Diana Casey.

  3. Would love to read ‘Free’. The Monsarrat series, Meg and Tom Keneally, is clever and intriguing for historical crime fiction readers. Currently writing an historical crime fiction set in Sydney in 19th Century, Paul Jenkins

  4. Colonial women, convict and free, faced not only immense physical hardship but implacable prejudice because of their gender. I am impatient to read Meg Keneally’s novel Free, inspired by real women like my six times great grandmother, who came as a convict, eventually owned and ran a hotel in Sydney and insisted on a pre-nuptial agreement when she married her last husband. Meg is a marvellous writer of history and this story will be as well crafted and enchanting as her others.

  5. Such a talented writer – is it in the genes or parental encouragement or original hard work? In any case it is such a pleasure to read her articles and work. This one sounds special.

  6. I expect this book will give me a deeper understanding of Australian history, aspects I haven’t explored for the Australian/New Zealand story I am working on. It sounds uniquely interesting. I would love to receive a copy of work by this excellent writer.

  7. Amazing novel about colonial Australia inspired by real people. Our family’s own direct colonial ancestors had huge courage and fortitude, especially one convict woman who escaped the noose at Lancaster Castle to be sent to New South Wales for life never to return to England, although her sentence was later reduced. Only one of her three known children survived, otherwise I would not be writing this comment. Being free is a fundamental human wish. Would be great to have a copy of Free.

  8. As a country we have not always embraced our rich history from all aspects – Meg Keneally brings an important era to the forefront of this Australian literary genre


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