Review – Lady Lightfingers.
Although Celia Laws is only a teenager, she is a proficient pickpocket supplementing her family's meagre earnings in order to survive in the slums of mid-nineteenth-century London. Her mother is from a respectable family, but she was abandoned while pregnant by her husband, and forced out of the family home by a conniving stepmother. Even in their reduced circumstances, however, she did teach her daughter how to read. One of Celia's more daring escapades involves Charles Curtis. He perceives the beauty hidden by rags and dirt, and longs to know the identity of this light-fingered thief. He offers a large sum of money to a local madam to out her, but her search induces Celia to runaway to relatives in Dorset. Her sweet Aunt Harriet tries to make Celia into a proper young woman, but her past, and the determined Charles Curtis, catch up to her. The ever-popular Woods offers her avid readers a lovely and thoughtful historical romance that delves into poverty and injustice, as well as the power of attraction. Triumphant! Booklist, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
With the film of Red Dog now topical, I remembered a poem I wrote when we lived in the Pilbara, and it won a local competition. I'd had contact with Red several times previous to that, when he was a local legend. A year after Red died there was a competition to remember him by, run by the local newspaper. I've dug out my winning entry from my archives, and have edited it a little. I'm not the greatest poet on earth (or anything near it!) But anyway, I hope anyone who reads it, enjoys it.
A dog stood at the pearly gates, it made a fearful din.
“I know my master’s in there, mate, so you’d better let me in.
For years I’ve roamed the Pilbara, from inland to the shore
When finally I found his trail it led me to your door.
In every man I’ve found a friend, you know the nor’west breed.
They’d lift me up when I was down and give a dog a feed.
God bless the truckies in the heat, they gave me rides to save my feet.
I had a banker and a vet . . . a place to doss at in the wet.
I’m done with travelling in the west, I’m weary and in need of rest.
But I think it would be grand if I could lick my old mate’s hand.”
So Red Dog found his place at last – he left the great nor’west.
His legend merges with the past, part of the Pilbara’s best.
Red are the sunsets, red the rocks, red the dust that coats the docks.
Red’s the dog that left his spoor in the Pilbara dust and iron ore.
(Janet Woods © 1981 revised 2011)