In the early 1800s, the Burbridge family nurtured a keen sense of their own importance amongst the free settlers in the penal colony of Sydney.
As the eldest child, Henrietta is confident of her place at the centre of her parents’ universe. However, within two years of their arrival in the colony, her father's expectations are shattered, and so he returns to England to press his log of grievances and to defend his role in deposing Governor Bligh in the Rum Rebellion. His four-year absence alters him profoundly, turning his parental protectiveness to obsessive control.
Henrietta too changes, growing from a precocious child to a wilful adolescent. On his return, conflict between them is inevitable.
Matters come to a head when Henrietta becomes infatuated with the handsome Captain Cowin. Her dreams of following him to India are realised with an invitation to live with her rich relatives in Calcutta, ostensibly to finish her education but really to make a wealthy marriage.
At fourteen, her journey to India is a harrowing introduction to womanhood.
In Calcutta, Henrietta is out of her depth in this rich and sophisticated society. When sixty-year-old Mr Martin proposes, sixteen-year-old Henrietta must decide what to do.
Maiden Manoeuvres is the first of three in The Sisters’ Saga, which tells of Henrietta and her sisters and the compromises they must make to reconcile love’s delusions with the demands of reality.
About The Author
Alison Ferguson completed one of the first degrees in writing back in the 70s. Later, after qualifying and working as a speech pathologist, she moved into academia—researching, lecturing, and publishing in the area of clinical linguistics. Now retired, she is pursuing her fascination with writing.