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The extraordinary true story of the First Fleet girl

who became First Lady of the colony.

'The fascinating account of a truly remarkable woman, cleverly interwoven with all the leading social and political events of the first three decades of early Sydney ... North's writing is so utterly beautiful and compelling that reading her prose is akin to hearing the remarkable history for the first time … This is up there with Kate Grenville’s The Secret River which also had the same deeply profound, spine tingling effect upon me.'

Dr Catie Gilchrist, University of Sydney, Dictionary of Sydney


This is the little-known rags to riches love story of Esther Abrahams, who arrived in Australia

as a convict on the First Fleet and became an important historical figure.

1) Esther was the first woman in Australia to manage a large 

   agricultural estate (Annandale).

2) She was influential in the early respect gained by the Jewish community in Australia.

   (Esther's daughter, Rosanna, was the first free Jew in the land).

3) Her rise from convict to First Lady contributed to the evolving social

   order in Australia.

RRP: $29.99

IMPRINT: Allen & Unwin

CATEGORY: Historical biography

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'North skillfully weaves together one woman's fascinating saga with an equally fascinating history of the early colonial period of Australia. The resulting true story is sometimes as strange and thrilling as a fairytale.'

Lee Kofman, author of The Dangerous Bride


'The life of one of Australia’s most innovative, brave and determined early settlers is brought to life through the excellent penmanship of Jessica North. Authentic, riveting and inspiring, Esther is a sensational tribute to one of our nation’s leading female pioneers.'

Amanda Barrett, Mrs B's Book Reviews

'North has meticulously researched the myriad details that render this story so true to life and cast a new light on our origins.'

Irina Dunn, former director of the NSW Writers' Centre

‘A gritty, captivating, true story that keeps the pages turning long into the night! Jessica North's meticulous research and clear-eyed, sensitive perspective shines a light into the shadows of the past, revealing Sydney's beginnings in a fascinating diarised form like no other book has done before...’

Goodreads review

'A truly professional and exemplary retelling of the history.'

Blue Wolf reviews


‘The account is an historical masterpiece told objectively with no embellishment to fill in any gaps…This is a riveting, informative must read for all Australians.’

Goodreads review