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Book Review | Kate Grenville's The Lieutenant

 
A historical novel based on the life of a young man finding his true calling in life as part of the first settlement in New South Wales...
 
I am a huge lover of historical fiction (something you will already know if you are a regular reader of my blog) however, this book in particular really caught my attention as it was set in a place I know practically nothing about. Having never studied Australia at any point in my academic life, I realised that I knew virtually nothing about the origins of the country or its first settlements. I was aware that a lot of convicts were shipped over in the 1700s, but other than that I was relatively hazy on any details.
 
I very much enjoyed The Lieutenant and found that it was a book that I didn't want to put down. It had a very simple storyline of one man's life and his journey to discovering himself. In the Authors Note at the end of the novel, Grenville reviles that it is based on a real man and true events. Although she changed the names an imagined up the conversations, the details of the settlement and the events that happened were all collated from the gentleman's own diary. It was a very heart-felt book that evoked a number of emotions whilst reading it.
 
THE BOOK BLURB
 
As a boy Daniel Rooke was always an outsider. At school he learned to hide his clever thoughts from his cruel peers; at home his parents were bemused by their bookish son. Daniel could only hope - against all the evidence - that he would one day find his place in life.
By 1788, Daniel has become Lieutenant Rooke, astronomer with the First Fleet as it lands on the unknown shores of New South Wales. As the newcomers struggle to establish a settlement for themselves and their cargo of convicts, and attempts are made to communicate with those who already inhabit this land, Rooke sets up his observatory to chart the stars.
But the place where they have landed will prove far more revelatory than the night sky. Out on his isolated point, Rooke comes to know the local Aboriginal people, and forges a remarkable connection with one child, which will change his life in ways he never imagined.
Based on real events, Kate Grenville's stunning new novel conveys the poignancy and emotional power of an extraordinary friendship, and how through a man might find himself: a story that resonates across the oceans and across the centuries.
 
Kate Grenville is one of Australia's best-loved authors. Her works of fiction have won numberous awards both in Australia and Internationally. She lives in Sydney and maintains a website.
 
 
Have you read anything by Grenville?
What Books have you been reading lately?
 
 
Maddy
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