BOOK CLUB: The Postmistress

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Author: Alison Stuart
RRP: $32.99
Publication Date: 17 June 2019
Harlequin Mira
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

A wonderfully entertaining and well written historical fiction tale of love, loss and courage.

It is the story of Adelaide Greaves; her young son Danny, her maid and friend Nelly, who are living in Maiden’s Creek where Adelaide is the town’s Postmistress. Adelaide has created a new life, a new identity and a new future but the arrival of Caleb Hunt, a handsome American who is reeling from the horrors of the American civil war changes Adelaide’s life.

Adelaide’s past is always on her mind and Danny is a constant reminder but he is her life and when her past catches up to her in Maiden’s Creek Adelaide turns to Caleb for help.

The Postmistress is a journey into an Australian gold mining town in 1871. The descriptive dialogue in the book gives you a real sense of life and the dangers of living in the bush.

I really enjoyed getting to know Adelaide who grew to be a very strong independent woman in a man’s world. 4/5

This guest review was submitted by our Beauty and Lace Club member: Karyn. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Karyn.

The Postmistress is available now through Harlequin Mira and where all good books are sold.

Alison Stuart can be contacted on or Facebook.

Thanks to Harlequin Mira 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading The Postmistress so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

14 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Postmistress

  1. Such a beautiful tale of hardship, strength of character and persistence. I love tales of the 1800s era and Alison Stuart excelled in producing a succinct and emotional story in ‘The Postmistress’.

    It is a relief to read books that aren’t overwhelmed with references to technology and modern life. Simple, hardworking battlers are beautifully depicted in a realistic Australian country setting. English wealth brought Adelaide Lewis no happiness, leaving England behind at 17, pregnant and fleeing a domineering loveless father. She escapes with her long term maid and friend Netty to Australia. Also fleeing his life as a field doctor in the Civil War, American doctor turned goldminer Caleb Hunt comes to Australia to start a new life. Meeting in the small gold field town of Maiden’s Creek in Adelaide they endure past ghosts, relive horrible memories, forge friendships and independence, fight injustice and find love.

    It is a book of warmth, beautiful strong characters and is complete with an ending that finalises every possible scenario that occurs throughout the book. Thrilling reading and a hard one to put down.

    A big cheers to Beauty & Lace and Publishers Harlequin Mira for this epic tale.

  2. My love of Australian Historical fiction was truely covered in the book The Postmistress by Alison Stuart. Thankyou to Beautyandlace Harlequinbooks and of course the very talented Alison Stuart.
    Adelaide Lewis is living a very hard life in England ,although well fed and sheltered she is controlled by her bullying father, and Adelaide has a secret.
    Helped by her friend and maid Netty Adelaide escapes her home and manages to find her way to Melbourne and then into the goldfield of Victoria.
    Finding work as the Postmistress Adelaide and Netty find a new home among the small minding town.
    Caleb Hunt a gambling ,ex American confederate soldier carrying many internal scars and a lot of his own secrets finds himself the part owner of a small holding in the same town of Maidens Creek.
    Neither Adelaide or Caleb are looking for any kind of relationship but form an uneasy friendship.
    Life is not easy in Maidens Creek and soon the secrets of both Adelaide and Caleb start to unravel .
    I throughly enjoyed this book, although fiction there is so much historical fact of what life was like for those trying to make a life in the goldfields in the 1800s. Definitely recommend this book.

  3. The Postmistress by Alison Stuart is a wonderful story of life in the Victorian goldfields in 1870’s. Adelaide has escaped from her pompous, wealthy English father to make a new life for herself in Australia. Her long serving servant, Netty, travels with her and they become close friends.
    Alison relishes the new egalitarian society and ignores the class rules that the English want to continue.
    It is ah historical novel, roughly bases in Whalhalla, an old Victorian goldmining town that is a pleasure to visit today. Life is tough and Alison works hard, gains respect and is happy raising her son.
    Of course she meets and falls in love with an American. Then someone from her past comes to wreck everything. there is excitement, romance, intrigue and some violence, all which takes this to be a great read
    It is a well written story that I could not put down.

  4. The above comments say it all really. A very enjoyable read with great depiction of the mining era in Australia. I felt very drawn to the character of Adelaide, a strong independent woman. Altogether a well written novel with plenty to keep the reader enthralled throughout. I love the cover !!!!!!!

  5. To be honest Im a little undecided on this one. Im not saying it wasnt a good book, I think I just expected alot more from it.

    I found it a nice easy book to read, the setting was great, the characters likeable but for me the depth just wasnt there.

    I will give this author another go as I have read that her books are amazing and as I said before this wasnt a bad one, just for me something was missing.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira.

  6. The Postmistress by Alison Stuart was a 5* read for me. This was the first book I have read by this author but look forward to reading many more. The Postmistress is Historical Fiction with a bit of romance based in a small gold mining town in Victoria in 1871. The main character, Adelaide had escaped her secluded and privileged life in England with her maid/friend Netty and was working as the P0stmistress in this rough town. The male character, Caleb Hunt is an American ex-confederate soldier with a mysterious background. The perils of the Australian bush are well written into the story.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and HarperCollins Publishers for my copy for review.

  7. Great book that has been research thoroughly.
    Women had none or little standing and was basicly thought of as a chattel.
    Many women found themselves in the same predicament
    of being an unwed mother.
    The lengths some of them went to
    to forge a life for themselves in the ruggered Australian Outback
    and in the male dominated Goldfields shows strength and determination
    that was unheard of in the 1800’s.
    I thank my lucky stars that in the present we have choices,
    to have an unplanned pregnancy,
    to have a career,
    to have a life that you can be in charge of.
    Historical Fiction like The Postmistress may not appeal to everyone
    but I thought it was brilliant and could not put it down.
    I recommend this book highly.

  8. Young Adelaide had no idea how babies were made so when she fell head over heels in love and gave her virginity to her love interest she had no idea that there was a possibility of her becoming pregnant which is exactly what happened. Adelaide knows her Father will not approve and her actions will bring scandal upon the family and things are made worse when she hears the news that the Man she is pregnant to has met with tragedy and has been declared lost at sea. Adelaide fleas her home and heads for Australia where she takes on her Mothers Maiden name and becomes Mrs Greaves who sadly lost her husband. This frees her son from ever hearing and being given the horrid label of Bastard. Adelaide becomes the Postmistress in the town of Maidens Creek which is a Victorian gold mining town.
    Many years later Caleb Hunt arrives in town. He has fled America and carries his own secrets. There are various turns of events that throw Adelaide and Caleb together and Adelaide feels the barrier that she has kept around her heart dropping and she slowly allows this man in but her past comes back to haunt her full force and she knows that her love for Caleb can never be.

    One thing I love to do with books is to question myself that if this was a movie or a tv mini series would I have to watch it and with The Postmistress my answer is a big YES. This would make an awesome TV Mini Series. The Characters are real. Each one has their faults and imperfections but I found I cared for them and wanted the best for each of them.
    Brilliantly written. I will certainly look out for other books by Allison Stuart.

  9. I love Australian Historical fiction and this book certainly does not disappoint! The story beautifully captures the struggle of the first settlers in the rugged towns that contrasted sharply in every way to what they were familiar with. I really enjoyed the strong female characters of Adelaide and her maid Netty who support each other , breaking down class barriers to forge a life for themselves in a young and harsh Australian mining town. Their challenges and triumphs as they navigate a new life for themselves in a time when they were very few options available to single unmarried women.

  10. A lovely book which captured my attention and as the story unfolds I find myself drawn to each character. Adelaide and her son Danny, Caleb (a troubled gentleman), even some of the town busybodies. Showing what life was like back in the goldfields of country Victoria. From illness, disease, fire and death. Peace to troubled times and past coming back to haunt.
    No give away here but do read as it’s an interesting and heartfelt story capturing the Australian bush, heartbreak and love.

  11. Thank you so much, Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira for introducing me to Alison Stuart through The Postmistress. A book with many levels and factual accounts through bushfires, gold fields and the American Civil War with every aspect of the story beautifully told with nothing disjointed. Historical Fiction, especially Australian, is possibly my favourite genre and this book did not disappoint in any way.

    The characters were very well drawn, even the ones who were almost incidental. The Postmistress, Adelaide, is a wonderful and inspiring young woman whose strength is obvious. Her devotion to her maid and friend, Nellie and her young son, Daniel is very real but there is nothing soppy about this woman who has made a life for herself in the harsh Australian environment when women weren’t meant to be independent. Her strength and courage are evident from the outset when she decides she must leave her privileged life in England and make her way to Australia due to an unplanned and unexpected pregnancy which her father will not understand or sympathise with in any way. Her life is disturbed and “turned upside down” when a handsome but scarred Confederate soldier arrives in Adelaide’s village.

    The story is very believable. Many aspects are sad but also very real. I found myself holding my breath on more than one occasion as the tension was so well written. It is a very “real” book, the historical aspects are excellently written and the characters beautifully developed. Overall a very satisfying and lovely story, beautifully told.

    This is my first Alison Stuart book – it definitely won’t be my last.

  12. The Post Mistress by Alison Stuart is a book I highly recommend .
    Such a page turner for me it was one that once I started I nearly finished in one sitting but actually didnt want to turn the last few pages as I knew the end was coming.
    A great example of historical Australian fiction that I am sure anyone would enjoy.
    Highlighting life in the goldfields of country Victoria,
    Adelaide and her maid Netty and son Danny weave a wonderful tale of strong women, Adelaide leaves her privileged life in England and makes a life in a harsh Australian environment.
    So many aspects to this story , peace and troubled times, illness , disease and death, fire and pasts coming back to haunt .
    I thoroughly recommend The Post Mistress .
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin MIra for allowing me to read and review this great novel. .

  13. Thank you to Beauty and Lace Bookclub and Harlequin Mira for the opportunity to read and review The Postmistress by Alison Stuart.

    After hearing of the loss at sea of the man who was to ask for her hand in marriage and is the father of her unborn child, 17 year old Adelaide Lewis flees England with her maid Netty rather than risk her father’s wrath when he finds out she is pregnant, taking with her only the jewelry bequeathed to her by her mother.

    We next find her and her now nine year old son Danny living in Maiden’s Creek Victoria where she is the village postmistress, and on Sundays teaches two of the working girls from Lil’s Place, Sissy and Nell how to read and write.

    Then there is Caleb Hunt, a Confederate survivor of the American civil war, prone to wearing fancy waistcoats, who barely 24 hours after landing in Australia has won a mining claim, Pretty Sally, in Maiden’s Creek off an Irishman in a game of two up.

    Throw in Will Penrose, mine engineer, nephew of Charles Cowper the major shareholder and manager of the Maiden Creek Mine, who is madly in love with Sissy and wants to rescue her from her life as a whore but can’t while he works for his uncle, plus the local doctor who looks at life through the bottom of a whisky bottle and you have all the ingredients for a comedic farce. Yet somehow Stuart manages to take these disparate characters and meld them together to create an engaging tale.

    While I wouldn’t put this book in the class of some other Australian Historical romance/fiction authors it is an enjoyable, well researched, easy read. The plot is not overly complicated and often predictable, but some of the interactions are quite amusing, with some of the action that take place in Lil’s Place being reminiscent of scenes from cowboy movies from the 1960’s.

    There is action aplenty, romance and confusion, hidden pasts and emotional baggage, the appearance of a person from Adelaide’s past to rock her safe world, danger from the Australian Bush and a find that will change all their lives.

    I give it 3.5 stars.

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