Giveaway of Esther by Jennifer North

Here’s a treat for April. Our sponsor, Allen & Unwin, is offering a 3 book giveaway of Esther by Jennifer North, the story of Esther Abraham, a First Fleet convict who became the First Lady of the colony of Sydney. You can read a sample chapter here.

Jessica North has been researching Esther’s story for over a decade, discovering intriguing new information. She is a program director at the Australian Research Institute for Environment and Sustainability at Macquarie University, and author of several guides.

Subscribe to our HNSA newsletter then comment on this post to enter the draw. Contest ends at 5 pm on 6 May 2019. Winning entries will be determined via random.org.

The little-known rags to riches love story of a convict girl who arrived in Australia on the First Fleet. Much like another, better-known colonial woman, Elizabeth Macarthur, Esther successfully managed her husband’s property and became a significant figure in the new colony.

Esther only just escaped the hangman in London. Aged 16, she stood trial at the Old Bailey for stealing 24 yards of black silk lace. Her sentence was transportation to the other side of the world.

She embarked on the perilous journey on the First Fleet as a convict, with no idea of what lay ahead. Once on shore, she became the servant and, in time, the lover of the dashing young first lieutenant George Johnston. But life in the fledgling colony could be gruelling, with starvation looming and lashings for convicts who stepped out of line.

Esther was one of the first Jewish women to arrive in the new land. Through her we meet some of the key people who helped shape the nation. Her life is an extraordinary rags-to-riches story. As leader of the Rum Rebellion against Governor Bligh, George Johnston became Lieutenant-Governor of NSW, making Esther First Lady of the colony, a remarkable rise in society for a former convict.

‘North skilfully weaves together one woman’s fascinating saga with an equally fascinating history of the early colonial period of Australia. The resulting true story is sometimes as strange and thrilling as a fairytale.’ – Lee Kofman, author of The Dangerous Bride.

Good luck in the draw!

HNSA Sydney 2019 will be held on the weekend of 25-27 October 2019 at Western Sydney University Parramatta.

Once again, historical fiction writers and readers can gather for a three stream program on the weekend of 26-27 October including our extended Academic stream on Sunday 27 October. This time there’s also a Craft & Publishing program on Friday 25 October with craft workshops, masterclasses and manuscript assessments with top class tutors. Our Guest of Honour is Jackie French. Keynote speaker Paula Morris will address our theme: History Repeats.

Among the 60 acclaimed speakers are patrons Kate Forsyth and Sophie Masson, Catherine Jinks, Ali Alizadeh, Marie Munkara, Lucy Treloar, Robert Gott, Pamela Hart, Nicole Alexander, Jane Caro, Alison Goodman, Kelly Gardiner, Michelle Aung Thin, Meg Keneally, Majella Cullinane and so many more.

Our signature First Pages Pitch Contest returns with $200 prize money on offer. They’ll also be a sword fight or two with our Historical Re-enactments & Weapons display!

Enjoy a delicious meal at our conference dinner on Saturday 26 October where Anna Campbell will entertain us. You’ll also hear who’s won this year’s ARA HNSA Short Story Contest with a $500 prize.

Visit our website to purchase your early bird tickets now!

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14 thoughts on “Giveaway of Esther by Jennifer North”

  1. This sounds a fantastic series and one that my 83-year-old mother would love as well. As a keen genealogist, she’s secretly disappointed that none of our ancestors arrived on the First Fleet— always interested in Australian stories based on the history of our country. Esther sounds like the perfect champion of women of the time — strong, courageous and resourceful. I’d love to meet her!

  2. Cannot wait to read this. I am currently studying for a BA at UNE majoring in Australian history and as a keen reader and genealogist with a female first fleeter in my family I can never get enough Australian historical fiction.

  3. This looks wonderful, I’ll definitely add it to my tbr-list. She’s sounds like a wonderful character, in such a terrifying yet fascinating time…

  4. “Esther” sounds fascinating – I’d love to read about her. I know little about Aussie First Fleet, but have heard similar stories of arrivals on the First Four Ships to Canterbury/Christchurch (NZ).

  5. My English teacher caught me reading “Sara Dane” in class. Yep, I got in trouble, but I loved Gaskin’s fiction about a strong woman in early colonial Australia. “Esther” sounds all the better for being based on a real historical entity and piles of research! Grown-up historical (bio)fiction for a grown-up me. Excellent stuff.

  6. Looks like a very interesting read! It’s about time that such amazingly strong Australian women are written about in fiction.

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