‘Staircase to the Moon’ by Elizabeth Haran

sttm ehSTORY: Perth, Western Australia, 1913:

When her conservative family tries to force Emily into an arranged marriage with a much older, wealthy man, she decides to take destiny into her own hands and escape her strict father and overbearing brothers.

She embarks on a ship to North-Western Australia to take up employment as a private seamstress for a large and rich farming family, who welcome her with open arms. Surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful and remote landscapes of the Kimberly region, Emily starts to believe that happiness and love really are possible in her new life.

But storm clouds are gathering, and as the men of Kimberley march off to war in Europe, Emily must step up to prove herself against all the odds. And that’s when things start to turn out different than she ever could have imagined…

REVIEW: Australia – 1913

Emily Scott, age 22, works in her father’s tailor shop in Perth. Stifled by her strict father and 3 overbearing brothers, Emily feels positively suffocated. Her mother passed away when Emily was just 8, leaving her surrounded by all males. Her father’s brother, Freddy, came to live with them after her mother passed. He is a fun man who manages to keep the house going and everyone well fed.

Her father and brothers think she should marry and introduce her to a repulsive older man who wants to marry her. She is so disgusted by him that she decides to take a drastic step to escape this fate. Unbeknownst to her family, she accepts a position as a seamstress in a remove area.

As she is waiting for the train to depart from her hometown, she meets an older woman, Annie, who befriends her and accompanies her on part of the trip. We follow Emily and the adventures of her trip aboard ship. She meets so many interesting people, including a very cranky Chinese man who has just been hired as the cook at the same estate where Emily is heading. After a long and exhausting trip, she is delighted to find a beautiful home and enormous estate owned by the McBride family, including their son and 3 daughters for whom she will sew. Everyone is so nice and they welcome her graciously.

When World War I breaks out, many of the men decide to join up leaving the women to keep the home front going. The difficulties they face with massive rains and droughts, places a huge burden on them all. The women step up and take on jobs that they never thought they could do.

The story includes all of the family members and those who work for them. There is happiness, sadness, fear, humor, and love.

This was a wonderful, wonderful saga. Those who live in Australia or have never visited will be fascinated by the descriptions of the country itself and the people that live there. This is one of those books that deserves more than the five stars I awarded it.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

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