Surely the potato blight won’t hurt Esty’s family, her papa being agent for the landowner, right? But the famine in 1840s Ireland cuts deep, and 12 year old Esty finds herself hired out as a servant, with Mama and Grandpa sent from their big house to a tiny cottage.
As the large landowners continue evicting the tenants who can’t pay rent or feed their families because of the blight, more rebellion springs up. Esty reads the newspapers discarded by her employers and dreams of taking her family away from the famine, off to the goldfields of Australia.
Such a long journey, from Ireland to the other side of the world! And what perils along the way to the goldfields at Ballarat - thieves, wild weather and worse!
Can Esty really find a way to get her family all the way to Australia? Will they be tough enough to survive the pioneer conditions at the edge of the Outback? Can they find gold or will Ballarat be one more heartbreak for the Mahers? 224 pages Ages 11-14
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA