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A Room Made of Leaves cover art

A Room Made of Leaves

By: Kate Grenville
Narrated by: Valerie Bader
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Summary

It is 1788. Twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth is hungry for life but, as the ward of a Devon clergyman, knows she has few prospects. When proud, scarred soldier John Macarthur promises her the earth one midsummer's night, she believes him.

But Elizabeth soon realises she has made a terrible mistake. Her new husband is reckless, tormented, driven by some dark rage at the world. He tells her he is to take up a position as lieutenant in a New South Wales penal colony and she has no choice but to go. Sailing for six months to the far side of the globe with a child growing inside her, she arrives to find Sydney Town a brutal, dusty, hungry place of makeshift shelters, failing crops, scheming and rumours.

All her life she has learned to be obliging, to fold herself up small. Now, in the vast landscapes of an unknown continent, Elizabeth has to discover a strength she never imagined and passions she could never express.

Inspired by the real life of a remarkable woman, this is an extraordinarily rich, beautifully wrought novel of resilience, courage and the mystery of human desire.

©2020 Kate Grenville (P)2020 Canongate Books Ltd

What listeners say about A Room Made of Leaves

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Awesome retelling of Sydney’s beginnings

This may not be historically accurate but it’s a beautiful retelling and elaborate painting of a challenging life of a woman in 18th century Sydney. Simply Stunning & very entertaining! Thanks

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An interesting female perspective on the age of discovery

An interesting tale that at times resembles Vanity Fair in the unfettered ambitions of Mr McArthur and the feminine manipulations of his wife . Very poor narration though with several incomplete edits and long silences .

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Beautiful language

I loved the beautiful language in this book. The narrator was also very good and pleasant to listen. Although the story was interesting as such, for some reason I found it somewhat rambling. The characters remained impersonal to me.

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Loved this Story and it's Telling

A beautifully told story of a woman's struggle with a difficult environment and a dreadful husband, in a time when women had very few rights or control over their life decisions. The main characters are each flawed in their own ways but despite those human traits, Elizabeth feels worthy of empathy, unlike the husband.

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new Kate Grenville fan

I absolutely adored this book. Very nice narration... Beautifully written..It contours up a vivid depiction of early colonial settlers in the penal colony of New South Wales.. It is wonderful to give a voice to Elizabeth McCarthur and women who due to social constraints were not permitted by society to speak their minds or given recognition....weaving a story around actual events and not to accept past colonial view on historical events.... Also wonderful to respectfully give a voice and acknowledge 1st inhabitants and that European settlers were the intruders.....

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Wonderful

This was a great listen - a fascinating reimagining of life for the early European settlers - I loved it. Kate Grenville is a fantastic storyteller ..

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Let down by poor editing!

Brilliant narration, but let down by very poor editing. Parts are left in where you can hear the narrator get a word wrong, pause, and restart! Very long pauses between chapters that clearly haven't been edited etc. Overall though, it is still listenable. Story is intriguing, but in our postcolonial world I found myself much more interested in the indigenous people's untold than Elizabeth's.

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fascinating Australian history

I know nothing about Australian history penal colonies and abuse of aboriginals. very interesting

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