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…third in the trio after Letitia Munro and To Plough Van Diemen’s Land, telling true stories of Australia’s founding convicts. It continues the tale of a pioneering family transforming the world’s biggest prison into a land of free enterprise and pride.
Having grown up in the shadows of their parents’ pasts, children face the traumas of holding heads high in a society of change, a change intent on sweeping convict pasts under carpets as even educators lie to them. Parents agonise over preparing the next generation to cope. Must they deny their children their very heritage?
The Terrible Truths takes you into the hearts of true characters unwittingly creating the culture of today’s forthright Australians.
“Eighty-six, Charles. And what, fourteen children? And five husbands? I reckon that’s a record even for our family. Fancy a woman living to that age after burying five husbands.”
Charles didn’t answer. He seldom did these days, for rheumatism had sapped his mobility and much of his inspiration. He spent most time on a sofa looking across the valley, and then only if Hannah had helped him get there. And apart from rheumatism, he had gout.
“And sciatica and arthritis to boot, if I’m a judge,” Hannah would tell him on his days of being near tears. “Good thing I’m hale. Maybe I’ll live as long as MaryAnn and have three more husbands, eh?”
And Charles, who never quite lost his sense of humour, giggled.
Hannah’s stepsister, MaryAnn Briscoe, Sarah’s firstborn, had died last year, and they had only just heard.
“She was already married when I was born, Charles, so I never knew her as a girl. Yet when she came south to visit Ma’s grave, if you recall, she still had that dogged, determined Goodwin air about her.”
“A woman must be dogged to take on five husbands.”
“To bury them all, too, my love.”
Charles sat pensive for so long that Hannah thought he had dozed off.
“You know, Hannah, your pa’s been dead what, twenty-five, thirty years? What a different world he would see now—the fruits of what his generation planted for us to feed on. Which we dare not speak of, of course. And the mention of MaryAnn is reminder of it. Her pa a convict, your pa a convict, and dare I say, my dear, maybe mine? I so often wonder what our children really know about that time.”
“I’m sure Jane doesn’t know. But Alf does, of course. We won a promise from him, remember?”
Charles remembered well.
“I often wonder if that decision was the right one. At the time I had no doubts, yet with hindsight, I feel we maybe did deny some heritage.”
Hannah got to her feet and crossed to the writing desk to extract Jane’s last letter from a ribbon-tied bundle.
“Now that you’ve said that, there is something I have to say. But first, do you feel up to looking again at what Jane said? I think she wrote that she has the worries of the world on her shoulders. Women of our family, Charles, by tradition, have never, to my knowledge, admitted to anything like that.”
“Are you hinting that our Jane doesn’t have the fortitude to face up to life’s troubles because unaware of the trials her forebears withstood?”
“Something akin to that, yes. Two years ago when she came to see Prudence married, she looked more tired than any woman her age should look. And I don’t believe she ails in bodily health. I had as many children. Her grandma Sarah had more, and her great-grandma Titia had as many. Each in more difficult circumstances than Jane. Yes, Charles, I wonder if she would be stronger for knowing of their trials.”
Charles was stunned.
“You speak like a mother I do not recognise. You have always been so protective of her.”
“I’m not criticising, Charles, I say simply that lacking the strengths illustrated by her forebear mothers in turn, she may be the weaker in perseverance for not knowing they were of stock bound, or chained if you like, by such pressures as they were.”
Silence reigned for several minutes.
“There, Charles, I’ve said it now.”
“Well, I had no idea you felt this so strongly.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I don’t demean Jane. I’m simply trying to put things into their proper holes. When I had my ten children, we lived for the most part in some comfort, in a peaceful valley where quiet complements all the other advantages. She lives on a frontier where the noise of industry keeps her unsettled and where her work is even more exhausting than when she had but three and four children. I just feel she could face those troubles better if she knew her family background.”
Following a career in business management at international level, Kev attained a degree in journalism to then sweat as far up the River Nile as one can get, canoe down the Amazon, flash countless rolls of film from atop the Eiffel Tower, the heights above Yosemite, the Victoria Falls et al, scream “Ole” at a Chihuahua bullfight, ride elephant trails in Thai jungles, wallow in the incredible history of Rapa Nui’s Maoi - and as convention almost demands, was mugged in Bogota. His articles on travel to exotic lands have featured in travel and airline magazines around the world.
Meanwhile, being a sixth generation descendant from Australia’s First Fleet with an obsessive interest in his country’s founding history, he was consequently disappointed at generations of suppression in the education of Australians at the lack of truth in what really happened. Years of fact-finding with the help of other dedicated researchers revealed all and Kev vowed to set the history books aright by bringing the unsavoury truths of convictism to light. He is well qualified to do so for as a student of First Fleet history he has presented his subject on many occasions in press, radio and television interviews. He is a Past President of ‘The First Fleet Fellowship’ and a Past Secretary of ‘The Descendants of Convicts Inc.’. During Australia’s 1988 Bicentenary he officiated in Founding celebrations in Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Norfolk Island and for his work during that Bicentenary, was created Honorary Life Member of ‘The Regiment of Redcoat Descendants’.
Kev now devotes his life to writing on not only his country’s convict history, but general fiction with an Australian flavour. He recognises the growing trend towards digital reading so follows the world’s top authors in publishing his works both as traditional paperbacks and eBooks.
His Gurrewa (two books in the series) and Brogan (4 books in the series to date), all released by Wings-Press (www.wings-press.com), are followed by Letitia Munro, To Plough Van Diemen’s Land and The Terrible Truths, the latter three being more works on his country’s convict beginnings. Synopses of all can be read on www.kev-richardson.com. More works are in the pipeline.
These days Kev travels less, having retired from his home on Australia’s Gold Coast, left his grown family and friends to write from experiences and adventures during his exciting travels, happily ensconced in the foothills of the Golden Triangle in amazing Thailand’s exotic north
I very much enjoyed Brogan--it makes me want to go explore the channel country and corner-country. What a fascinating part of Australian history! -- Karen Babcock, editor
FIVE-STAR AWARD! Although our hero, Adam Ashby is Kev Richardson’s fictionalized convict-birthed character born to an unwed couple, a ‘bolted’ convict and his ‘colony wife’, this story nonetheless represents the real life history of New South Wales’ struggles to become more than just an overflow prison for England’s criminals. For those of you who miss the history in your Historical reads, you’ll not be disappointed in this factional account of Australian history 1790–1820s. “I just love the way you throw a story together.” -- JoEllen, Conger Book Reviews, USA
Letitia Munro: Richardson shows very poignantly where the Australian ‘free spirit’ and attitudes to authority stem from. As a glimpse into the times of just over 200 years ago, it is a fine historical record. I enjoyed this work immensely; it should be compulsory reading for all, especially Australians. -- Lang Reid “Chiang Mai Mail” and “Pattaya Mail”
Five Star Award! Letitia Munro, by Kev Richardson, himself a 6th generation descendant First Fleeter, continues his authentic historical account about the 162,000 convicts imprisoned on New South Wales. It was a land that not even the king himself knew had too little fresh water for drinking, or sufficient tillable soil to support the hoards of convicts he sent to populate the colony. -- JoEllen Conger—Conger Books Reviews, USA
Letitia Munro: I just love the way you throw a story together… -- JoEllen Conger—Conger Books Reviews, USA
Gurrewa (Finalist in the world’s search for the best historical e-Book of 2002)
An engrossing read! A dark tale of what we must admit is not humanity’s finest hour.
Adam Ashby, a boy struggling to stay alive in the streets of England, is arrested for breaking into a house. His sentence is seven years, to be served in the most horrible conditions imaginable. Treated worse than a slave, he and other prisoners are kept in leg irons and sent to live in a ship-like hulks set in the river. They are given hard labour, little food and no clothing. In winter they go shoeless and when the weather is bad, are kept confined inside the hulks without windows or fresh air, and no exercise.
It is from this horror that he, other boys his age and younger, as well as men and women of all ages, are shipped to Australia to establish a prison colony. Hope blooms anew for Adam as the ship sails. But will the future hold better?
Author Kev Richardson has caught the flavour and pure awfulness of the time about which he writes. His characters are well drawn and believable and seem bent on self-destruction, the only way of life they know.
Without hesitation, I recommend this story to anyone who likes historical or mainstream tales. Join Adam in his search for hope. -- Anne K. Edwards, (eBook Reviews Weekly)
BROGAN’S BUST by Kev Richardson (ISBN-1-59705-825-4), Wings-Press (USA), May 2007 is a well crafted, high testosterone tale of corrupt international trafficking in gems, guns and drugs. In fact, I couldn’t help but wonder how this author knows so much detailed information about the strong-armed men of South America? It all sounds so realistic, as though he’s been there, done that… and survived!
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 337
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