Covering the years 1880-1942 and chronicling poverty, exploitation, destitution, adventure, love, tragedy and an incredible coincidence, The Horsekeeper’s Daughter tells the true story of the County Durham mining village of Seaham, its people, and one remarkable woman. This talk explains the social history behind the book. Twenty two year old Sarah Marshall left the Durham pit villages in 1886 and travelled alone to start a new life on the far side of the world. Spanning ten thousand miles, the narrative weaves between County Durham and Australia, and explores the lives of ordinary folk who faced extraordinary circumstances. The book unravels the social, political and economic factors which resulted in thousands of British women like Sarah leaving their homes and families behind for the new state of Queensland, through the government-sponsored Single Female Migrant Programme. The prejudices, hardships and challenges these young women encountered on arrival in Australia are revealed. The experiences of Sarah and her family are paralleled with those of the loved ones she left behind in Seaham, as they faced their own struggles through times of political upheaval and financial deprivation. Drawing upon family links, original letters and photographs inherited from Sarah’s niece, this talk offers a unique perspective on the forgotten story of a working class girl, and the experiences of the hundreds of single women like her, who left North East England in the late 19th Century and sailed to Australia to forge new lives
I grew up in County Durham and have a lifelong passion for the people, places and history of North East England. After practising as a lawyer for 25 years, in 2017 I published my first non-fiction book, The Horsekeeper's Daughter (Matador, 2017), which relates the true story of one of the hundreds of young women who left North East England to forge new lives in Australia via the Single Female Migrant's Scheme in the 1880s. Following the success of The Horsekeeper's Daughter, I'm currently researching my second (as yet untitled) book about Bomber Command and the County Durham mining town of Seaham Harbour in World War 2. You can read about my books, my travels and my articles on North East History on my website at www.justcuriousjane.com - history and travel writing with a sense of humour!
I give talks and lectures on North East History to local and family history groups, Rotary Clubs, schools and colleges, book groups and Women's Institute Meetings.
Reviews for The Horsekeeper's Daughter:
“Wow one of the best books I have read in a long time. Once started I couldn't put it down” Goodreads, 5 stars.
“A North Eastern classic” Amazon, 5 stars
“Absolutely riveting from the first page to the last” Amazon, 5 stars.
“What a lovely historical read with a moving Durham-Queensland connection beautifully told by the little girl who was fascinated with a battered suitcase of old letters and photos. Highly recommended. Can't wait to read more by the author” Amazon, 5 stars.
“Absolutely cracking read, very informative and extremely well researched. A must read for anyone from County Durham. It has it all, intrigue, tragedy, adventure, excitement and filled with extremely interesting facts.” Amazon, 5 stars.
“A wonderful story of true dedication to wanting to have a better life . The dedication showed by the author in writing this book shows we have a up and coming writer and well worth looking out for.” Amazon, 5 stars.
“Beautifully written and extremely informative. A fascinating insight into life at the turn of the 20th century. Well worth reading.” Amazon, 5 stars.
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