“Loosely based on the family history of both the author and her husband, who both had Scottish Highlander ancestry (Macdonald and McLean)!”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Mary Macdonald is horrified to learn of her husbands passion to relocate not only their family but three other related families  from the wind swept but  stark Isle of Skye to the wilds of Australia.

They were sponsored by the local Laird and the four families set out on an epic voyage half way across the world to  hopefully find a better life.   Life in Skye is really tough as the crops fail and hunger sets in.

Mary is very fearful!  Her parents are ageing, her brother is ill and her husband Murdoch has persuaded him along with his wife and children to join them on their expedition to the antipodes.  Murdoch’s sister Caroline and her family and another cousin make up the group.  Their journey follows the route from Skye to Liverpool then to Australia and many months of travel in the bowels of a sailing ship, associating with the great unwashed foul smelling Gaelic speaking  emigrants from other areas in Scotland.  An incident occurs onboard and Murdoch saves a childs’ life, little did he realise who this would change all their lives.

Mary lives in constant fear and anxiety over the health of their youngest son John.  Illness follows him and he is constantly either sick or recovering form something.

On arrival in New South Wales, the incident onboard with the child now has unexpected benefits.  Jobs are quickly found for the men and accommodation procured for all the families, but they are separated by distances, so vast to the Skye folk, that Mary again stresses over the idea of not seeing her brothers family daily.

Times passes, they settle in  there are losses and lessons, deaths and new beginnings,  new farms and ways of farming.

Then, over the next four generations and one hundred years, we see what happens to the  farm lands and the lives of the families, making Australia what it is today.   A Multi cultural country built on the sweat of our forefathers.

 

 

Reviewed by:

Sara Powter

Added 8th March 2016

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