"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Review and quotes: THE EXILES

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

Book Beginnings quote: 

St. John's Wood, London, 1840: From within a restless dream Evangeline heard a knocking. She opened her eyes. Silence. There more insistent: rapraprap.

Friday56 quote (from page 16, the last page of preview):

There is was: the ruby ring, sparkling in the glow of the whale-oil lamps in the gloomy drawing room. Mrs. Whitstone held it out like a treasure hunt find. "Where did you get this?"

Summary: Evangeline's father, a rector, has died. With no money or means she is forced to work as a governess for the Whitstone family. When she first arrives for her assignment, she meets and forms an attachment with the eldest Whistone son. In her naivety she becomes pregnant. Right before he leaves for a trip to Italy, the son gives Evangeline a family heirloom, a ruby ring, with a promise that when he returns there may be more to the relationship. But before he does return the pregnancy and the ring are discovered by Mrs. Whistone who has Evangeline arrested for theft. With no one to vouch for her Evangeline is left alone in the deplorable conditions in the prison and then she is sentenced to fourteen-years to be served in the penal colony, Australia. Aboard the prison ship, Evangeline makes a few friends: Hazel, a young girl from Scotland who was trained as a midwife by her mother; and Olive, a street-smart woman who is also pregnant. Both women deliver their babies aboard the ship with disastrous results. And this is only the beginning of their problems.

Review: One thing I like about reading historical fiction is learning new information about events or time periods. I enjoy gaining new insights about situations because they are presented with a story allowing dry, dusty history to come alive. That is the case with The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline. Evangeline, Hazel, and others had to endure such horrible conditions and a complete lack of justice because they were female and poor in the mid-1800s. Though I was aware of Australia being founded as a penal colony, I had never really thought about what happened to the prisoners once they got to Australia, or what they were required to do as part of their sentences. Now I know: work and work without pay. Hmm, sound familiar? There is also a side story about an aboriginal girl who is taken from her village and kept almost like she was part of a zoo exhibit. This is the second Baker Kline book that I've read. Both this one and Before We Were Yours pack an emotional punch but one that is followed up with a good moral lesson. The ending is very satisfying.

The Exiles is a book club selection for June. I imagine that we will have a fairly good discussion about the treatment of females throughout history. Our club usually picks four or five months worth of books at a time. The Exiles was the last of five books that we selected in January and all of them had something to do with the bad treatment of women in history or in a culture. It was bad timing on our part and now we are ready for a more lighthearted book or one that deals with men's problems. Ha! Any suggestions?

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.   

RHS Book Club, June 2021



  1. Ooh this sounds like it could be quite a rough read but I agree completely, HistFic is a great way to learn more about different periods and other people! Usually I find myself digging into non-fiction shortly after a great HistFic book! Also, your link at Freda's Voice didn't work for me for some reason :( I hope you have a lovely start to the weekend and do drop by my Friday post if you have the time! - Juli @ A Universe in Words

  2. The Exiles is on my TBR and I do hope that I will get to read it soon! Your review and snippets make me want to go and see if I can't get a copy right now. But I first want to read my own brand new book...!

    Happy weekend and I hope you have another great book to read.

    Elza Reads

  3. This sounds like a compelling read. If I could, all the fiction I'd read would be about women and their struggles.

  4. Oh, wow, this book sounds awesome, and I have somehow neglected to read it! Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  5. I like both those excerpts you shared today--definitely hook worthy. I really want to read The Exiles. I read the author's Orphan Train when it came out and loved it. I am glad you liked this one and hope your book club discussion is a good one. Have a great weekend, Anne!

  6. I liked the book and learned a lot.

  7. This sounds like a fascinating read. Like you, one of the reasons I love historical fiction is learning new things. I'll have to add this book to my wishlist. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend! :)

  8. I've read a few books by Kline that I've liked. This one sounds equally good. And a part of history I haven't read much about. Great review! :)

  9. I heard this is a good one! Happy Memorial day weekend!

  10. I've been told I need to try this author. One of these days I need to get there!

    Lauren @ Always Me

  11. This sounds super interesting. Like you, I knew some of Australia's history as a penal colony, but none of the details.


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