June 2022 Book Club - The Exiles

Discussion in 'Reading Pad' started by Karen, May 16, 2022.

  1. Karen

    Karen Wiggle it, just a little bit!

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    Yahoo! We have another round of voting completed and we have another batch of great books to read together. After voting was complete we were able to narrow the list down to four top books. I always love adding great books to my To Read list! :agree


    The book for June is The Exiles by Cristina Baker Kline. Feel free to read our book club books in any order that you choose and when you've finished reading, come back here and tell us what you think. Please label spoilers. We have a new trick for hiding spoilers. Type whatever you want and then highlight the spoiler portion and click the + button above and select Spoiler. If that doesn't work (seems to be funky on Macs) just highlight your text and change the color to white >>>This is a super secret spoiler alert!<<< like I did right there.

    This is what the spoiler button looks like.

    [​IMG]


    Just a note, anyone is welcome to join in with our book club reading at any time and join in the discussion! The more the merrier! :agree Happy reading!
     
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  2. Laura ODonnell

    Laura ODonnell Active Member

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    I just started this book today. I was looking for a new book and thought to check your reading list. I was able to get the audiobook from Overdrive. So far I'm liking it! When I get farther in I'll be back to join the discussion.
     
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  3. Karen

    Karen Wiggle it, just a little bit!

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    I just finished this one about a week ago, but didn't have time to pop in here to discuss with all of my son's graduation and grad party stuff. Here are my winding thoughts about this one...

    I found this book fascinating and also awful and uplifting all in one. I knew in general about prisoners being sent to Australia, but I never realized that women were sent there on transport. It's just awful that women could be jailed for having the misfortune of getting pregnant by someone rich who though that was an inconvenience to them. Gosh! It's appalling that "the help" could be accused of stealing and it was just a foregone conclusion that they had stolen without even being able to defend themselves and then that she was sent off to Australia for 7 years in those terrible condition (while pregnant).

    I was totally thrown for a loop when Evangeline was pushed overboard and drowned only halfway through the book. I mean, I thought this was her story and she was the main character and then BAM! She's gone! What!?! It took me a long while before I quit waiting to find out that somehow Evangeline had survived and was going to turn up again somehow. It was an interesting twist to then follow Hazel's story from that point forward. I found it really interesting that after the prisoners were released from Newgate that they could just adapt in the area and become normal citizen's and how many of the people there can trace their ancestors from the prisons there.

    I was totally sickened by how the wife of the governor just decided she wanted to take the young aboriginal girl Mathinna as a project/pet and how Mathinna and her people had no say in the matter. Then when she got bored of her she just shipped her off to the awful overpacked orphanage.

    Overall I enjoyed this one. It did seem liek there were several disjointed storylines, but it was interesting to see how they all tied together with Hazel coming to work at the governors house and meeting Matthinna and then seeing the Dr. from the ship again and ending up married to him. Then it was a little satisfying at the end to see Ruby making her way back to London to find her birth father and seeing him single, alone and kind of pathetic.
     
  4. Laura ODonnell

    Laura ODonnell Active Member

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    Practicing a spoiler

    test test test
     
  5. Laura ODonnell

    Laura ODonnell Active Member

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    OK, now I understand how the spoiler works. Very cool

    I really liked this book. I was looking for a new read and remembered the book club here at TLP. I didn't know anything about The Exiles but it was available on Overdrive so I took it. The story grabbed me from the beginning. I did the audiobook and the narrator was excellent. I think Liane Moriarty also uses this narrator.

    I did not know that English prisoners were sent to Australia when they were no longer able to be sent to America and then further research I did found that basically any woman arrested for anything would get sent to Australia for a minimum of 7 years purely to get women over there and keep the colony going. How horrible. The main character Evangeline - such a sweet young woman. In the beginning I was really hoping the employers son would find out what happened to her and come and rescue her. Then at the end you find out why. He's basically a self centered do nothing slacker. And I also, when she was pushed overboard, was really hoping she'd show up somewhere later in the book. The part of the story that was toughest for me was when they got to Australia and the women were separated from their children, and the conditions in the orphanage.

    Olive the midwife/herbalist was such an amazing woman. The way she kept going. Kept insisting to be a part of Ruby the baby's life and keep looking after her. I loved that she got together with the doctor. Also really loved what happened to Buck.

    The part with Mathina I almost wish was a whole separate book. I would have liked to know more about her life when she was princess.

    I loved the ending, that Ruby as an adult didn't romanticize her father and hope for a happily ever after. I love that she saw him for what he was and moved on.
     
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  6. bcgal00

    bcgal00 Say, "birdseed!"

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    Waiting for a digital library copy...soon I think. Can't wait to read this.
     
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  7. plumdumpling

    plumdumpling CT - Krista Sahlin

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    Christina Baker Kline does historical fiction so well. The characters are so well drawn, and the story keeps you turning the pages. Until you want to scream that she killed off the main character!

    OK...why does she kill off Evangeline?! I felt like Evangeline was the glue holding the book together. After she died off, it kind of floundered a little. I liked the other characters, but it was Evangeline's story moving everything forward.

    I would have loved Mathinna's story to have more of a focus.

    Ruby's ending was definitely satisfying!
     
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  8. Karen

    Karen Wiggle it, just a little bit!

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  9. navaja77

    navaja77 Well-Known Member

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    I just finished this book yesterday.

    I was so sad that Evangeline drowned. I had to go back and re-read it because I couldn't believe she was gone. I feel like there was still so much development to her character left but then again, she is the connection to how we can relate to these women whose lives ended while on the ship.

    I did like the ending and how they tied up the loose ends with Buck and Ruby's father. I am happy that one of the three main characters turned out to have a free and content life. When the author briefly mentioned the doctor again in the book, I had a feeling he would come back into the picture. I am very sad for how life turned out for Mathinna yet I'm thankful the author kept true to facts about the aboriginal Tasmanian people and what happened to them after they were colonized. I did a quick research and found out Mathinna is a real person. The author kept true to her story. Sadly, she passed away about age 17-18. As an indigenous person, this hits hard as I know how it feels to be connected to your people and culture - and cannot every imagine being ripped from all that as a young child and flung into a completely different environment. And then to find that world very much changed when she went home. This is what they mean by generational trauma that still affects Native people to this day.
     
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  10. navaja77

    navaja77 Well-Known Member

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    I believe Mathinna's story was meant to be portrayed this way. If we focused on her, would her story be truly an accurate portrayal? Think Pocohontas from Disney. Her story is nowhere near accurate to her real life based on the few historical documents that existed. She also died very young. There are few historical documents that truly portrayed indigenous people at that time except to be recorded as savages needing civilization.
     
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  11. sm_amber

    sm_amber I learn from the best..

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    Oh, man, I'm about 50 pages in and dying seeing all these spoiler posts! Must.Read.Faster.
     
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  12. plumdumpling

    plumdumpling CT - Krista Sahlin

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    So true Ophelia. I've appreciated your comments here. I'm interested in looking into more of Mathinna's actual story. Down the old rabbit hole I go!
     
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  13. Laura ODonnell

    Laura ODonnell Active Member

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    This makes perfect sense.

    I did the audiobook for this one and was hoping for an author interview at the end. I like when they discuss the research behind the book. After this one there was just a podcast that mostly talked about her other book Orphan Train. I will also look around to see if I can find more of the history.
     
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