Author(s): Catherine Jinks
The story of two fiercely strong women, mother and daughter, one determined never to explain her choices and the other equally as determined to dig deeply and unrelentingly for the truth. Charlotte Atkinson was born into a life of privilege. Raised by a widowed mother on a vast and wealthy estate near Sutton Forest, New South Wales, she and her three siblings enjoyed an idyllic early childhood in the great stone house still known today as Oldbury. But in the summer of 1836, a violent incident in the Belanglo wilderness set off a chain of events that transformed Charlotte's existence. Inexplicably, as a result of this affair, her mother was prompted to marry again - thereby surrendering her property, fortune and offspring to Charlotte's vicious and degenerate new stepfather, George Barton. His presence turned Oldbury into a place of madness and terror, casting a shadow so long that it continued to haunt Charlotte for years after his somewhat mysterious death. Based on fact, this astonishing tale features a memorable cast of characters, including Australia's first female novelist and one of the country's earliest, most notorious serial killers. Jinks confirms her reputation as a masterful storyteller with a meticulously researched exploration of public shame and private passion, set against the brooding backdrop of the Southern Highlands.