Fiction featuring Care Experience

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Orphan Rock

Dominque Wilson

2022

Orphan Rock (2022) is another of her books with a displaced child as protagonist.

Orphan Rock is a historical novel with 2 women at the centre who first meet as small girls in the Protestant Orphan School (Paramatta NSW 1850-1886).

Bessie is a toddler when she arrives at the Orphan School but she's removed by her new step-father when she's about 9 years old.

Lottie is older than Bessie and looks after the younger girl. We don't know why Lottie is in the Orphanage, ie, whether she's been abandoned, removed by the state or orphaned.

Bessie is the protaganist for 2/3s of the novel, followed by Kathleen, Bessie's daughter. Lottie is more in the background, but playing a crucial role.

The women experience financial hardship, loss and grief, much of which is caused by what is happening in Sydney at the time. They also have times of respectability and financial success.

Dominque Wilson demonstrates a commitment in her story to the characters most marginalised in colonial Sydney (and even now), characters who are capable and resilient but whose lives are precarious.