Book Club: Jewel In The North

Click to rate this book!
[Total: 1 Average: 5]

Author: Tricia Stringer
ISBN: 9781489220387
RRP: $29.99

Jewel In The North is the highly anticipated finale in the Flinders Ranges series, an historical saga spanning three generations and bringing the story to a satisfying close.

Yes, this book is the conclusion of a three book saga and I have enjoyed following the Baker clan through the decades and I think that the experience was much more satisfying reading the story in sequence. BUT, I also believe that the story could be enjoyed if you only read this book. It is perfectly capable of standing on its own as well. You could probably even read the three books out of sequence to catch up but that would certainly drive me a little nuts, because I know my reading habits.

I had so many things to say about this book when I finished it, then life got in the way and now it’s three days later and I remember none of it.

We pick up with the Baker clan in 1895, after an 1894 Prologue. Joseph is now married to the native Millie and causing a stir in Hawker, certainly stirring the ire of Henry Wiltshire when they arrive for the opening of his creamery.

Heart of the Country was predominantly the story of Thomas Baker, patriarch of the Baker Clan and the conman who became his nemesis, Septimus Wiltshire. Dust on the Horizon continues the story of the two families with Joseph Baker and Henry Wiltshire, who were unaware of the connection between their fathers in the beginning of the story. Jewel In The North is the story of the third generation of the families, William Baker and Charles Wiltshire, whom we met as children and have now grown into young men.

Jewel In The North begins with a South African man sniffing around after diamonds and there happens to be a man in the hotel who has heard about one and thinks no further than how many drinks he could buy with what they will pay for directions to the area he thinks there may once have been a diamond found. This storyline doesn’t go far and we all hope that is the end of it, but being the focus of the prologue it’s a pretty safe bet it will crop back up somewhere along the way.

The Bakers and the Wiltshires seem to be inextricably linked, and the ill feelings travel through the generations. I think a lot of the animosity between William and Charles is a product of the friction between Joseph and Henry, but they had issues before they ever discovered the link between their fathers. The tension between these families kept growing and becoming more intense through the generations certainly had me thinking about how much of it was a conscious thought and how much the product of the family environment.

The Bakers are a pretty calm and friendly family, they are tolerant and inclusive and they tend to get along with everyone – unless they come in contact with a Wiltshire. Much of the issue between Joseph and Henry comes down to their very different views of the natives, but Henry Wiltshire is not the only one with that opinion yet the Bakers can be civil and polite with others who share the same views as Henry Wilthshire. The level of animosity between Joseph and Henry leaves little chance for anything but trouble between their sons but it got even worse, begging the question of what the next generation would bring.

Sitting back and thinking about the entire saga it is interesting to note the contrasts between the two families across the generations and I’m not sure if I’m overthinking things and adding importance where it was not intended but the growth of generations throughout the saga was interesting to watch through the families. It seemed that if one family was blessed with children the other struggled.

William was torn growing up between the relationships of his family with the natives and the views of the town of his family and their relationship with the natives. We saw him struggle to decide for himself where he stood on the issues and in Jewel In The North his relationship with the natives living in the area behind the family properties takes on a new aspect.

The Wiltshires are a family that I have had very little time for and they certainly didn’t find any redemption with me in this book, in fact they even sunk further in my esteem if that was possible. But I did have to sit back and thank the karma train because they met their match in the sneaky manipulative nasty stakes and got a little of what they deserve.

The town of Hawker and it’s surrounds have had some really good years but Thomas is starting to notice the signs and fears that another drought is coming. The Bakers have diversified and though they still run sheep on Wildu Creek William now stocks cattle at Smith’s Ridge. They start looking at stock levels to plan for the impending drought to ensure they can weather the tough times coming.

Jewel In The North brings us through another drought, the Boer War and to the beginnings of the First World War. There is division, diamonds and distrust as the township of Hawker grows and new laws come into play with regard to the native people.

It was heartbreaking to read of the fear that Millie faced for her children with the news of mixed race children being taken from their families and their heritage, the beginnings of the stolen generation.

An enthralling tale of love, family and the heritage passed down through generations. Jewel In The North did a wonderful job of bringing the families full circle and offered a beautiful close to the saga. There is still a lot to explore and a part of me would be more than happy to discover that Stringer is going to follow the Bakers through a few more generations and stick with their story until they catch up with us on the timeline, but this chapter closed with a satisfying tying of the storylines.

Jewel In The North is book #24 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.

Tricia can be found at Tricia and Facebook.

Jewel In The North is published by Harlequin and available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading Jewel In The North so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

20 thoughts on “Book Club: Jewel In The North

  1. I read this as a stand alone and it worked no problem. I followed the characters and the story easily. I appreciate the time was different then but it irritated me in the first pages that both main female characters were described as keeping their figure despite having children! Ugh! But I moved on and the story arc was worthy. It is a full novel and I anticipated each new chapter.
    The baddies were cringe worthy, the goodies you rooted for and nothing really drastic happened and for that I enjoyed this a lot.
    The fear and horror of the possibility of indigenous children being stolen was real and shameful. The prejudice embarrassing. Having said that, the ease and love between interracial marriages was hopeful.
    The homesteads and country was never fully realized for me, I like full location descriptions but I never felt invested in the land as if I knew it. Perhaps that was something that may have been worth reading the first books.
    It was a good enough read and I enjoyed.

  2. Firstly, Thank you so much to Beauty and Lace Book Club for the oppertunity to read Tricia Stringer latest novel, Jewel in the North.
    As a former Student whom studied Australian History specialising in The Copper Mining Triangle of South Australia, this novel touched me deeply.
    Jewel in the North touched on many subjects including the Stolen Generation, slightly on the White Australia Policy, the Rabbit Proof Fence and devestating drought of the Outback.
    An epic novel that works as a stand alone read following three families and their struggle for survival in a harsh landscape.
    A wonderful book that draws you into the harsh reality of early Australia and you will laugh and cry along with the families, feel heartbreak at realistic tragedy and satisfaction as the villians are put into their place.
    I highly recommend Tricia Stringer’s latest novel.

  3. I began reading Jewel in The North and for the life of me it felt so familiar. Although initially I struggled to work out who was connected to who and how, at the same time i felt like I knew these people from somewhere. I am honestly not sure If I have perhaps read one of the previous two books in this series or not. I hunted my bookcases but was unable to find a copy of either of the previous books but that doesnt really mean much as I have been known to discard read books in public locations for others to find and delight in. Without reading the previous books you can still quite easily enjoy this one and not feel as if you have missed out. If you are keen enough you can purchase them and read them as if on a family history research adventure.
    Jewel in The North investigates the interaction and prejudice between white man and the native aborigines and mentions such things as the stolen children. Shocking that white people felt it was perfectly ok at the time and in the best interests of the children. It shows the struggles of dealing with the unpredictable nature of the weather which of course is something that farmers still have battles with even today but thankfully they do have the benefit of long range forecasts that farmers back then didnt. There is love, heartache, betrayal and much more. There are things that will make you angry and shake your head but there are also things that will make you smile.
    I enjoyed this book and would love to read the previous two books at some stage
    Thank you Beauty and Lace.

  4. What a wonderful book. I love it when I find a book that I can’t put down which is exactly what this one was for me. I just had to keep reading to find out what happened. I didn’t like the character Charles Wiltshire, I’m glad he got what was coming to him.

  5. A great read about life in harsh conditions Australia ‘s drought can offer mixed with misunderstandings, greed, determination and dislike. Couple that with love, friendship, support and the love of a country lifestyle and the workings of everyday life to survive in the country this is a great read.
    I really enjoyed the story, fell in love with the Baker and Georgina Prosser right from the start. Disliked the Wiltshire’s (unscrupulous Henry in particular) and their hidden agendas. However the whole context of the story was strong in the fact it portrays fact in the way different families go about building themselves and the lengths they will go to in order to achieve.

  6. I really enjoyed Jewel in the North written by Tricia Stringer. Having read the first two books in this series I was anxious to carry on with the story of Thomas’s families at Smiths Ridge and Wild Creek.
    I enjoyed the characters and became extremely fond of William, Millie and Joseph and particularly the shy character of Jessie.
    I became ever critical of the spoilt arrogant Charles and was surprised that even he could be so evil. This book portrayed the very heartbreak of drought, how families can struggle through almost anything life throws at them ,with loyal friends and loving family.I was happy Georgia was eventually reunited with her mother and that Thomas’s story and his growing family continued. Thankyou Beauty and Lace, Harleqin books and Tricia Stringer for a fabulous read.

  7. I really enjoyed this book! It was easy to read flowed well the characters were interesting and fun to get to know!
    What a great insight into life in the 1800s the harsh Australian landscape and the judgmental people who live there. I would recommend it to anyone a fabulous read!

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jewel In The North by Tricia Stringer.
    Although I understand this novel is the 3rd in a series , the other two I have not read, I found that it was a very enjoyable read without having read the prequels.
    If you are a lover of historical reads and those set in Australia you are in for a treat.
    Highlighting the harshness of life in Australia on the land in drought conditions Jewel In The North brings us a story of hardship, family and includes storylines involving the Stolen Generation and how Aboriginal people were treated at that time. These were ,for myself, incredibly well written storylines.
    I would completely recommend this novel for those who like Australiana and historic drama , but also for those who would just like an engrossing family saga .
    Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the chance to read and review this great novel

  9. Tricia Stringer deals with Australia’s history in a touching and realistic way as it plays out in tune with the storyline set in the Flinders Ranges against a backdrop of feuding families and a search for gems.

    Although set in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the issues faced by those on the land – droughts, floods and prices, those in business and those dealing with mining companies (no matter how small they were back then) are mirrored in today’s society.

    Stringer addresses the issues of racial discrimination, greed, relations between graziers and local Indigenous populations and the changing nature of towns and farming in this period.

    I have to admit, I committed the mortal sin that no reader should commit, but I skipped to the last page when I was about halfway through the book to make sure things turned out the way I had hoped. This isn’t a ‘they lived happily ever after’ tale, but the ending was satisfying and not rushed like so many novels often are.

    The reader will fall in love with the Baker family and be on the edge of their seat as they devour the pages of the Jewel In The North to find out whether the nice bloke will win in the end or whether the scheming Charles Wiltshire will ride off with the ultimate prize.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *