Carmel McMurdo Audsley’s Conviction

Title: Conviction
Author: Carmel McMurdo Audsley
Publisher: Theatricks Publishing
Published Date: 2nd March 2022
Page Count: 323
Price: $2.99
Reviewer: Gwendoline SK Terry (19th August 2022)

A privileged young woman from the Highlands of Scotland is transported to a penal settlement in Australia in 1797.
She must survive in a hostile land that is both primitive and class conscious. She holds on to the hope that she will one day return to her homeland where she will face her tyrannical father – and reveal a dark secret.

I took an interest in the penal colonies of Australia after discovering multiple ancestors were convicts sent to Australia in the early 1800s. I wanted to read some fiction in this setting and stumbled upon this book.

“Conviction” is a lovely story, rich with historic detail. Bess was a strong character who did not give up on her dreams. Her determination was admirable; she never faltered in her resolve despite the various challenges she faced. Without giving anything away, I really liked the ending – it was bittersweet yet satisfying, a fitting conclusion to the story.

Unfortunately, “Conviction” did not get a thorough editing. Quotation marks were missing at the beginning of speech, mainly when Birrani was speaking, and the formatting was odd. There was a blank line between each paragraph and every line of the last few paragraphs of Chapter 3 was double-spaced. There was also a lot of ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’, which made some parts a bit tedious. I didn’t understand why Jarrah spoke in broken English or motioned for things still after Bess learned his language – surely they should be able to communicate just fine now? Also, if Gertie was raised by the British since she was 2, why did she speak in such jarring broken English?

I expected Bess and Jarrah’s romance arc to be a much more prominent part of the story than it was. I actually thought Bess was going to have a romantic relationship with a different character and was surprised when that didn’t happen. Regardless, even though Jarrah and Bess didn’t talk much with each other, I enjoyed their interactions. I wasn’t disappointed that Jarrah and Bess’s romance wasn’t the focal point of the story – in fact, I enjoyed that the story spanned over decades of her life rather than focussing on a moment of it.

All in all, “Conviction” was a good story.