This is a Gothic novel set in Australia. Unbelievable! –Australia must be the least Gothic country on earth, but here it is.
The story unfolds during the tour of Australia in 1870 by P T Barnum’s troupe of freaks and midgets, notably ‘General’ Tom Thumb, which had already toured America and Europe and even amused Queen Victoria. In Melbourne they take on a new wardrobe mistress, an English governess, Mary Ann, who has lost her job because she is pregnant. Her new contract of employment requires that she makes over the baby to the troupe (there is reason to believe it will be a midget). She thus becomes the sane outsider observing the increasingly insane rivalries within the troupe. There is also a mad millionaire anthropologist who wants Mary’s baby for his private museum.
The story comes to a very Gothic climax in the museum. Yes, you can have Australian Gothic, and this is a very good novel of its type.