Comment: Barry Fitzgerald (Denham Court NSW)
I bought your book because I like the title Prison Hulk to Redemption, but did not read the review in the Annals. It is one of the few history books that I have read and do not recall being taught Australian history at school.
I have written about my ancestors since they arrived in Australia in the early nineteenth century, but in far less detail than in your book.
Before we left Sydney in 1936 to live on a property on the Darling Downs in Queensland, I can recall very few instances instances when fun was made of me because of my Catholic school uniform. However I can recall my aunts and uncles referring to problems they were having because they were Catholics. But after reading your book I am inclined to believe it was more to do with the economy and the belief that the English were a superior class to the Irish.
[The chapter] ‘Bit and Pieces’ is superb and reminded me of my childhood at Jimbour. Our exploits and adventures were not as daring.
Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about early Australia.
By Millicent on Goodreads
I don’t usually review books but I was lucky enough to win this book through Goodreads so I thought I would share just a few small thoughts on it.
I really enjoyed In This Vale of Tears, it is not usually the type of book I would read but I thought perhaps it was time to expand my book horizons, and I’m glad I did.
The characters where all interesting and developed well and I found myself really putting myself in their situations regardless of if they related to me or not. In saying that though, although it is heavily themed with Catholicism, you find much more out of it than just religion, as I think most of the issues that the characters are dealing with, most people would be able to relate to.
The imagery was beautiful and it was a reminded to me that I should be reading more books set in Australia.
Overall an enjoyable read!
For the last six months I have been working on a book about the political career of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. I have progressed enough at this point to announce a tentative publication date: January 2018.
More detail here
Smashwords is running a HUGE EBOOK READING PROMOTION over the next five days with ‘deep’ discounts on many books. The promotion begins at one minute past midnight PACIFIC TIME on 5 March.
In This Vale of Tears giveaway copies are on their way to the winners. I hope you enjoy the story.
My favourite series of stories during my primary school days was Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series – which I spoke about below. I have since collected all the hardback editions – see also below – most in very good order, some with the original dust jacket. The other two series I loved were the Tiger Annual and the Lion Annual. My older brother Michael received the Lion Annual for Christmas while I received the Tiger Annual. We received most editions between 1954 and 1961. By then Michael had outgrown them. I was not at all embarrassed to receive the 1962 Tiger Annual at thirteen-years-old. As with the Famous Five, I have been looking to collect the annuals between 1954 and 1962. Unfortunately, the editions we received had gone to the book heaven when I decided to collect them. I have been able to collect most. One I was missing was the 1960 Lion Annual. When I saw a rather tatty edition on UK eBay I ordered it to be given to me as a Christmas present. The book arrived and turned out to be in better condition than I thought. Only the cover was a bit worn at the edges. The interior was almost mint. Here’s me reading it on Christmas Day, as I had done fifty-six years ago.
Stock of the 2017 revised edition of IN THIS VALE OF TEARS is due to arrive from the US at the end of January. I have received a proof copy and am very pleased with the new cover. The cover reflects the haunting sinister atmosphere of some of the vital parts of the story.
From Kathryn Farrell, second cousin once removed, great-granddaughter of my grandfather’s brother.
Thank you for a most interesting and well written account of James Joseph Wilson’s life.
I have been doing some “family tree” work for just over a year now, and thought I was clever accruing some names and dates, but you and your family have fleshed out the man and his times, and fascinating it was too.
My name is Kathryn Farrell née Houghton. My paternal grandmother was Jessie Geraldine Wilson, she married John Houghton and her parents were Michael Henry Wilson and Clara Jane Cluff.
Once again thank you for uncovering such a rich family history that I was totally unaware of.
A favourable review of Prison Hulk to Redemption: Part One of a Family History 1788-1900 has appeared in the November-December edition of Annals Australasia.
On his ancestral string, its strands mostly British, Gerard Charles Wilson has hung what is effectively a history of Australia from the earliest European sightings to subsequent landfalls, encounters with the original inhabitants, settlements and the achievement of a hard won prosperity.
Wilson’s meticulous research has encompassed official documents, newspaper file and a wide range of books. His constant focus is the way his ancestors from a variety of religious backgrounds came to focus – or refocus – on the Catholic faith despite prejudice. Read on
I was thrilled to be informed that the Catholic Book Club has chosen one of my novels – In This Vale of Tears – for one of their early meetings in 2017. I also received an invitation to be present at the meeting to discuss my book.
The news and invitation came at a good time because I had recently begun a revision of The Castle of Heavenly Bliss for a 2017 paperback edition. The Castle of Heavenly Bliss is the first book in my Winterbine Trilogy. In This Vale of Tears is the second book.
I was around two-thirds of the way through the revision of The Castle of Heavenly Bliss, but switched to In This Vale of Tears because of the news and invitation. I have completed the revision and uploaded the new ebook version to Smashwords. I have completed the preparation for the CreateSpace paperback edition, except for the cover. I am having a new cover designed. That should be ready in a few weeks at the latest. I am hoping that the new paperback edition will be available before Christmas.
Without changing the story, I have extensively revised In This Vale of Tears for the 2017 ebook and paperback editions. I have trimmed the text and corrected faults of style and language as pointed out by a number of readers who were otherwise generous in their comments. I have also made additions to the story to bring it into line with The Castle of Heavenly Bliss and to clarify the linkages and themes of the story. I am confident the revised edition presents a far more gripping and polished story.