New release by Nicole Alexander
An Uncommon Woman
Read the story blurb
Read a few words from the author
Inspired by a real newspaper story from 1930, An Uncommon Woman is an epic tale of duty, ambition, prejudice and love, from the pen of bestselling author Nicole Alexander.
A new world is waiting for her . . .
It’s 1929, and the world is changing. Cars are no longer the privilege of the rich. Hemlines are rising. Movies are talking. And more and more women are entering the workforce.
For Edwina Baker, however, life on her family’s farm in Western Queensland offers little opportunity to be anything other than daughter, sister and, perhaps soon, wife.
But Edwina wants more. She wants to see the world, meet new people, achieve things. For while she has more business sense than her younger brother, it will be Aiden who one day inherits the farm.
Then the circus comes to town. Banned from attending by her father, Hamilton, Edwina defiantly rides to the showground dressed as a boy. There she encounters two men who will both inadvertently alter the course of her life: pastoralist Mason with his modern city friends; and Will, a labourer who also dreams of escape.
And when the night ends in near-disaster, this one act of rebellion strikes at the heart of the Baker family. Yet it also offers Edwina the rare chance to prove herself in a man’s world. The question is, how far is she prepared to go, and how much is she prepared to risk?
A few words from Nicole Alexander
Two men want her, but in An Uncommon Woman, feisty Edwina Baker has other plans. An Uncommon Woman began with an idea based on an article in a 1933 newspaper. The headline in the Tasmanian Examiner read, Station Sold To Woman, and it briefly reported that a married woman, had purchased a Queensland pastoral property. The fact that the buying of land by a woman warranted an article in an island state far removed from the dusty interior of Queensland signified the importance and the uniqueness of the event.
Much of the world had just staggered through the great stock market crash of 1929 and was in the grip of recession. The shadow of The Great War still loomed and the bush was being invaded by men seeking work, many of them returned soldiers. And yet here was a woman laying claim to a remote rural property. At a time when men such as the great pastoralist, Sir Sidney Kidman were at the forefront of land ownership, the article posed an interesting question. Was this woman a purchaser in her own right or was she a holding name in the family business?
In 1902, Australia gave women both the right to vote in federal elections and also the right to be elected to parliament on a national basis. And yet despite this milestone, agriculture in Australia has historically been a male-dominated industry, and the sweeping tides of feminism following the first and second world wars did little to change this.
During this period, many women on rural properties were the laborers’ on small family holdings. Women were viewed as dependents, with domestic service, or marriage their only options. I wanted my lead character, Edwina to break free of the restrictions of her gender and the society in which she lived. I wanted her to lay claim to her own life and to literally forge a place for herself beyond the dictates of men, regardless of whether they were father, brother or lover. But a girl must have her distractions. And as Edwina’s ambition soars, she is faced with the challenges of love. First in the form of labourer, Will, who offers her escape from the drudgery of her farm life and a controlling father, and secondly the pastoralist, Mason. The type of man Edwina’s father would love to marry her off too.
Great changes were occurring across the globe in the 1920s and 1930s. Automobiles were no longer the privilege of the few, hemlines were rising and women were embracing the many opportunities that the modern age offered. However the bush remained the domain of men, with the great pastoralists of the time carving up much of the inland. What a rich background in which to place a story. What an opportunity to create a feisty and determined woman. Edwina is a product of her environment. She is very much, An Uncommon Woman.