A first novel by Australian author, Courtney Collins, tells the story of a female bushranger / rustler in New South Wales in the 1920s. The novel is based on a true story. Jessie has had an eventful life as a child circus performer before the war, arrested for 'vanishing' cattle and horses resulting in a two year prison term and then being bonded to Fitz, initially to care for the horses but in reality to use her rustling skills for his financial gain.
We meet her when she is on the run after the murder of her husband and she needs to use all her bush skills as she heads towards the apparent safety of the mountain. The story also traces the story of two men who have links to her past and who set out to find her.
The book is about Jessie's self sufficiency, her knowledge and affinity with bush survival skills and with horses and her need for freedom. As a twist part of the story is told from the point of view of her dead baby who is seeking its mother. This is a beautifully written and well crafted novel, almost poetic in the writing.
Read with Raf has introduced me to books and authors I have not previously read. This one I can highly recommend.