‘Dangerous Women’ – Hope Adams


Dangerous Women is a fictionalised account of an historical voyage, and it sweeps you up in the intricacies of the lives of the women involved.

One hundred and eighty women are taken on board the ship that will be their home for the next fifteen weeks as they sail from England to Van Diemen’s Land, the place that will be their new home. All very different, but every one of the women has something in common…they have been convicted of a crime, and this is their opportunity to start anew. Though we don’t learn the identity of the person involved until very late on, one of the women should not be there. She has killed someone, and has done what was necessary to take her place on the ship in her desperation to hide her past.

Our story slowly reveals details of the past lives of some of the women, but for the most part we focus on their interactions during the journey. Some of the women are invited to become part of a group run by Kezia Taylor, a woman from a wealthy background who is convinced her presence can help these women change their situations.

While the book is, for substantial periods, quite gentle there is an undercurrent of menace. When one of the women in the group is stabbed, everyone is suspicious. Investigations are started to establish the truth…and we soon learn that those who are most dangerous are not always most visible.

A tale of hope and redemption, in the bleakest situations. The stifling atmosphere of the ship is perfect for allowing events to unfold, and I was most relieved when they ended by setting their sights on new land – their chance to start over.

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this before publication in exchange for my review.