Australia,  drama,  historical fiction

REVIEW: The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

Title: The Exiles
Author: Christina Baker Kline
Type: Fiction
Published: 2020.
Pages: 384

“When you cut down a tree, you can tell how old it is by the rings inside. The more rings, the sturdier the tree. So . . . I imagine I’m a tree. And every moment that mattered to me, or person I loved, is a ring.” She put the flat of her hand on her chest. “All of them here. Keeping me strong.”

Some books just need to be read, even though it hurts reading them. This is one of these books. ⠀
I went into it blindly, barely knowing what is it about, and it ended up being one of the best historical fiction books I have read this year. ⠀

This is a story about women. Strong women that survived horrible things. It is also a story about a part of the world’s history we don’t know much about. Did you know that in 1840’s there were boats with convicts sent from England to Australia to serve their sentence there and inhabit the new continent? You might even know that. But did you know there were boats with only women on them? Women who were accused of stealing handkerchiefs, staying pregnant with a wrong person and similar benign crimes and then also sentenced to transport and years of service? And that they got marked as a cattle with a number? That their kids were taken away into the orphanages probably never to meet their mothers again? ⠀

It was heartbreaking, it was eye opening, it was beautiful. The characters of this book were just victims of being born at the wrong place in the wrong time but they still tried to get the best out of life. And they were so wonderful, I loved them so much! The author did a great job combining the historical facts with the story, it didn’t get boring for one second (which usually happens for me if the book gets too serious or too historical). ⠀

I did want more details on some parts of the story and that was the reason that I thought of giving this book 4.5 stars. But its importance is too big, and I think everybody should read this book and learn from it. Learn how not to let this world to become a misogynist paradise again, learn how not to let others make decisions instead of us, learn how to respect and cherish other cultures instead of ruining everything that is different. As they say: we have to learn from the history to make the future better. And that is why you need to read The Exiles, even if it will break your heart in pieces.

MY GR RATING: 5 stars

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