Patrick Rourke is a young Irishman who through a series of misadventures ends up in English custody and is sentences to deportation to New South Wales. He leaves behind his distraught family and his sweetheart, and must somehow come to terms with the fact that he will probably never be able to return. Life in New South Wales is hard, but through the help of Father Michael, a rather unconventional Catholic priest, and Preston Balfour, an upright English officer, Patrick is given a chance to better himself and build a new life in this faraway British colony.
As a story, Patrick’s Journey has merit – there are a couple of exciting events such as a near mutiny at sea, the interaction with the Irish freedom fighters, and an incident involving the death of a cow. But in places, the pace has a tendency to slow down and the characters are a little sketchy, possibly due to a little too much ‘tell’ rather than ‘show’.
Mr Humphries has done his research, and the resulting historical setting is well presented, with a lot of information woven into the narrative. He also avoids stereotyping, so that even if the recurring villain is an Englishman with nothing but contempt for the Irish, several of his countrymen prove themselves good men, concerned with upholding justice for all men. As I understand it, Mr Humphries is a descendant of Patrick Rourke – which is proof in itself that Patrick succeeded in creating a life for himself in Australia. Patrick’s Journey will hold high appeal to others with similar roots.
E-book edition reviewed