Having read and enjoyed Suzannah’s Gold I was looking forward to continuing the family story with some of the characters in Rebecca’s Dream. I enjoyed catching up with these characters though George was his usual annoying character. It certainly gives a very stark picture of life in Australia in the 1870s to 1890s. Much of it is hard to read as there are so many deaths and illnesses especially with young children. That very much gives a clear picture of the times and made this reader glad I live now and not then, when women had almost no rights or control over their lives. They were very much at the mercy of men and of their ability to conceive and bear children, even if they couldn’t always keep them alive. Rebecca however has a dream and some very storing opinions that do not sit comfortably with the some members of the community of Marengo or even members of her own family.
This novel also focuses on the conflict and tension that existed between Catholics and Protestants in the early Australian colony. Information about society and the conditions and especially the input of Louisa Lawson, mother of Henry Lawson, added an extra bit of historical interest to the story.
While I enjoyed this story and the continuation of the family saga, I found Rebecca hard to warm to. As a result this book didn’t grab me quite as much as the earlier book but both books are still worth reading for the unflinching picture it presents of early Australian life, especially for women. It should leave all of us in today’s society thankful for those who have gone before and fought to change society. Rebecca’s Dream is an enjoyable, well researched and thoughtful read that will no doubt be loved by readers of historical fiction especially those who like it with a Christian flavour.