Bound to Sarah
Bound to Sarah is a large, professionally produced book, although with a few typos and grammatical errors, it would have benefited from an editor’s touch. Patrick Roche grew up in the slums of 19th-century Liverpool, surviving life on his charm and wits and determined to improve his lot, despite his drunken father and the harsh realities of existence. But he is dealt a cruel blow when he is wrongly convicted of a crime and transported to a Tasmanian penal colony. Roche has given up hope of seeing his wife and child again, but events mean that his family are also to suffer, and the cruel fate that had torn them apart intervenes yet again.
I was disappointed to find myself at page 43 and not devouring the story. The main character wasn’t as interesting as some of the other prisoners—the reason, after thinking about it, was that the story starts by dropping the reader in the middle of a dockyard full of action and confusion, and begins with a ship full of men destined for deportation. If the story had started earlier in Roche’s life, in my personal opinion, it might have made all the difference.
The story muddled along in places and the dialogue was sometimes slightly clumsy. However, I’m glad I persevered, for I found myself interested in the story, which, although harrowing in places, became quite absorbing. I could see that the author had taken time and effort in his research.
The lives of the characters were certainly harsh and the laws they were subjected to came across well. The historical detail given to the ships and how they were manned, crewed, and utilized for the deportation of prisoners was fascinating.
By the end of the story, I’m pleased to say that I cared about the fates of those concerned. All in all, it was a slow start but satisfying and very plausible ending.