Dangerous Women by Hope Adams
Release Date - February 16, 2021
I adored U2 as a teen and never gave much thought to the song Van Diemen's Land. In 1841, 180 women convicted of crimes board a ship bound for Van Diemen's Land. In what would become Tasmania, these women will serve their time for crimes such as petty theft. One woman hides a secret that she will do anything to keep hidden.
As the ship sets sail, the women get to know each other. It isn't long before one of the women, a young mother, is stabbed and struggling to stay alive. The matron and the ship's captain lead the questioning to try to determine the killer's identity.
Dangerous Women is told from several perspectives and in the past and present. There are plenty of women on the ship, but you'll spend the majority of the time seeing the mystery play out between Kezia, the matron, and Clara, the women with a secret. There's also Hattie, the victim, whose story is focused on events leading to the stabbing and then as she lays in a coma with her young son by her side.
I don't always love historical fiction, but this mystery hooked me. I wanted to know what Clara's big secret was. I wanted to know what happened to Hattie. I really wanted to know if Kezia would find what she was looking for both on the ship and once they landed in Van Diemen's Land. I was never disappointed.