By Carol Baxter
Set opposed to the backdrop of a very divisive interval in colonial New South Wales, Australia, this sensational tale recounts the scandal that based at the beautiful convict Jane New and her position within the public vilification of Governor Ralph Darling and the elevation of William Charles Wentworth from journalist and public determine to the colony’s grasp political operator.
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Additional info for An Irresistible Temptation: The True Story of Jane New and a Colonial Scandal
The Officers had children every year or two for the two decades following their marriage in 1823: their eldest, Robert, was born five weeks after Jane’s arrival and a daughter Eliza followed fourteen months later. Whether Jane was the Officers’ only domestic servant or one of a few is uncertain, however her duties would have included the usual household chores, some nannying and, undoubtedly, dressmaking. Was Jane more help than hindrance? Dr Officer would later suggest so: I cannot say that her conduct was faultless, but I can most truly declare that she was the best servant I have ever had, and the only one of her class, whom during seven years observation, I have ever perceived to have any permanent feelings of gratitude for kindness received.
The Cape of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) was in sight. A pilot boarded at the mouth of the Derwent River and sailed the transport forty miles upriver. Gradually the barrenness disappeared and the scenery became breathtaking as they neared their destination. In sheltered bays and inlets they could see signs of habitation, with settlers’ crops appearing like a chequerboard of colour against the sombre mountain backdrop. ‘It brought old England and all its dear recollections home to us,’ reported one traveller.
Jane’s accomplice during the theft from Madame Rens’ shop has not been identified. Perhaps Hannah Ralph filled this role. When Jane and Hannah met, they must have felt an immediate bond, a meeting of minds and souls. Although physically dissimilar — Hannah was red-haired, fair-skinned and hazel-eyed in contrast to Jane’s dark sultry looks — they were around the same age, were long-term residents of Manchester and were both habitual shoplifters. Hannah had arrived in New South Wales early in 1827 on the fourth voyage of the Grenada transport, after receiving at least three Manchester convictions.
An Irresistible Temptation: The True Story of Jane New and a Colonial Scandal by Carol Baxter