By: Pauline Deeves
Published by: National Library of Australia
Published: April 2014
ISBN: 9780642278500


Florence is confused. Her family says her older sister Lizzie died of fever and should be buried immediately. No doctor is called, no clergyman is present and no neighbours are asked to come. The burial happens at night. In 1860s Australia, on a remote sheep station, the staff do not ask questions.

Life has been good for young Florence. She has her pony and her birds, her older sisters spoil her and even her very strict father often gives way to her.

But after Lizzie’s burial, the atmosphere in her home changes. People are grieving, but there is much gossip. Family and staff members whisper in corners and no one will answer Florence’s questions. No one visits Lizzie’s grave.

The arrival of her new governess, Susannah, a friend of Lizzie, adds to the tension. Susannah does not believe that Lizzie died of fever. With Susannah, Florence sets out to discover the true story of what has happened to her sister.


This is a fascinating insight into early Australia. Set in remote NSW in the 1860’s on a sheep station, the story is written in diary and letter format.

This is a little confusing for the first couple of pages, but becomes thoroughly enjoyable as the book progresses. The personalities of all the characters are well developed and the story is very well researched, with a surprising twist in the end.

A great novel for all your girls in Year 7—9, who enjoy historical fiction.

This book was included in our April 2014 Secondary Standing Order selection.

Reviewed by Michelle