I received this book for free from ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Night They Stormed Eureka by Jackie French
Published by HarperCollins Australia on 2009
Genres: fiction, historical, middle fiction
Source: ARC received from publisher
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It's 1854, and the Ballarat goldfields are a place of dreams and rebellion as Sam, a homeless teenager, is called back to the past to join the Puddlehams, who run 'the best little cook shop on the diggings'. The Puddlehams dream of buying a hotel with velvet seats, while others dream of freedom from the British crown.
I’m a big Jackie French fan. I’ve always enjoyed her picture books and in the past 18 months have been impressed by the YA historical fiction titles that I have read. I think that she has a wonderful gift as a storyteller and particularly like the way she is able to portray a well known historical time or event in a fresh way.
In The Night they Stormed Eureka, 15 year old runaway, Samantha (Sam), finds herself travelling back in time to Ballarat in 1854. She is taken in by the Puddlehams, a kindly couple who run a meal tent, and discovers that she has arrived just before the fateful Eureka Stockade, a rebellion by miners and townspeople against the oppressive government authorities in the goldmining town of Ballarat in 1854.
French uses Sam’s inquisitiveness to educate readers about a range of customs and historical details. Sam is a very likeable character and although the time travel detail is obviously a fantasy concept, Sam’s character and behaviour seem very real and authentic. Her personal journey throughout the novel, as her self-confidence and affection for the Puddlehams grows, adds a more personal element to the historical tale.
One of the great drawcards for French’s historical fiction is the fact section at the conclusion of the story. The story itself is so compelling that readers are keen to continue reading through the additional information, where French explains various terms and customs and makes a point of highlighting where her story has deviated from actual events.
The Night they Stormed Eureka is another fantastic historical fiction novel from an accomplished and versatile author. I’ve mentioned recently that I most appreciate writing with intelligence and good humour and I think Jackie French writes with both as well as an obvious passion for her subject. Another wonderful story to share with readers both young and old.
Recommended for reader aged 10+ years.by