Morrison and Kirkham were too anxious to talk. To Sam McAlister this was just an incident. If they found gold, well and good; he would have a jolly old spree down south; but it didn't much matter; it would do just as well six months hence as now, while, if they did not find even the colour, he would be no worse off than he was before....
|Title||:||Kirkham's Find (Penguin Australian Women's Library)|
|Number of Pages||:||340 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Kirkham's Find (Penguin Australian Women's Library) Reviews
Available online at Project Gutenberg Australia.This book will be discussed at Yahoo Group - Literature of the 19th Century from March 16 to April 6, 2014.review is pending…
I found Kirkham’s Find a little slow to begin with, as the first few chapters mostly focus on how hard Phoebe’s lot is in life and upon how difficult it is to be a woman destined to be an old maid in 1890s Victoria. The book picks up a lot once cousins Kirkham and Morrison head off to pursue riches via gold-seeking, however, and by the second half of the novel I was hooked. I didn’t think the writing was the best of the period’s offerings, but Gaunt’s style is very readable and her story is well-paced. Most of all, however, it’s good to read about a nineteenth-century heroine who is active and determined in the face of the passivity that was socially expected of women.
The beginning of this book reminded me of a really superBBC series "The House of Elliot" - it was all about twosisters, one pretty, one plain (I would call her vibrant)and how, with the death of their father, they find they have tomake their own way in the world. Evie is expected to marrybut business minded Bea finds a solution to their woes whereno one is compromised.Unfortunately "Kirkham's Find" is not of such a high standard.Nancy is the pretty one and Phoebe is destined to be left onthe shelf but in almost every chapter there are long discussionson how unattractive Phoebe is - it got very tiring to read.And Nancy is not so nice, she is mercenary and while she likesthe idea of having Ned Kirkham and Alan Morrison dancing attendanceon her, they are poor "not a penny a piece" and she is determinedto marry wealth. Phoebe may be the unattractive member of thefamily but her sound commonsense draws silent admiration fromAllan, unfortunately he and Ned are just about to set off forthe gold fields to make their fortune.Mary Gaunt was born and spent her young adult life in countryVictoria and she tells an, at times, interesting story that spansthe sleepy countryside to the grim reality of the goldfields. Inan extended section Kirkham and Morrison fight off marauding aborigines - Kirkham showing his mettle by sticking by theinjured Morrison, only leaving him by a waterhole when he knowshelp is just a few miles away.Gaunt was also a feminist and spoke through the book's heroine,Phoebe, - her tirades against being too old at 25 to do much ofanything except find a husband if she can!! Her frustration atwanting to earn her own living, finding a place in the world whereshe can hold her head up, seeing her brothers being given consideration even though they are failing their university courses.It seems to mirror Gaunt's own life.Phoebe asserts her independence by moving to the Warrnambool districtand becoming a beekeeper and, later on, a small farmer.It was only a 3 star read for me - there was not enough about thetroubles and triumphs of Phoebe's farming start and too much aboutthe marriage market and the end of the book turned into a "who willshe marry" etc. Because really for all Phoebe's independence andstrong will, her wish in life was to ultimately marry. Her latentsnobbery also came out when younger sister Lydia takes up with ayoung farmer. "Looks obsessed" Nancy catches the nicest bloke inthe book, he would have been far more contented with Phoebe.Phoebe, who has always been the brunt of her mother's complaintsabout "unladylike" ways, soon reverts to an elitist way of thinkingherself as she differentiates Ned Kirkham from the other farmersbecause of his "English voice which told of public school andcollege training" - a few pages back she dismisses Lydia's beaubecause of his obvious state school accent!!!
this is a delightful insight to Australian life for women in the late 1800's. there are long repetitive conversations railing against the inequalities of the sexes and the differences between the two sisters relationships with others. I got a bit frustrated with the mother more than other character always wringing her hands in worry, but still thoroughly enjoyed the whole book. especially the second half when phoebe describes her venture in warrnambool, I could've done with more of how she made a life foe herself here. I'll be looking out for more of Mary Gaunts books to read