Friday, 1 November 2013


By Lorraine Hunt Lynn                      
Author Lorraine Hunt Lynn

Review by Louise Rule

Josiah’s Plan commences in Edmondsham, Dorset 1835, and from the outset the reader is plunged into the desolation of winter with the protagonist Mary Fry shivering in the open doorway waiting for Josiah to come home.
When I started to read this I drew my cardigan around me as I read on. Their home was the meanest of places with only heavy sacking for a front door. So, we know that they are destitute, even down to their main meal which is unpalatable stale bread and cheese. They have a two year old son, Edwin, who is sleeping in their bed, covered with layers of sacking. Things certainly could not be grimmer.
Mary is grateful for her home, such as it is, as many poor are sleeping under the hedgerows. These are indeed pitiful times. It’s difficult not to feel sorry for Mary as she waits in the darkness for Josiah because there is only one candle left, and she is saving it for when he comes home.Amidst this poverty Josiah is depicted as a ‘cheerful soul; an optimist filled to the brim with jollity and hope for their future.’ He enters their home and Mary lights the precious candle.
The Dorset dialect binds this story together, and is written confidently, though at first I felt like Long John Silver here and there whenever they uttered ‘Arr’ instead of ‘yes’ – but as the story proceeds, that feeling disappears as I became immersed within it and its characters; the language then became woven silently into the story.
Very early on we discover that Josiah has been to prison for stealing a piece of ribbon for Mary. Now he has stolen some food, such is their poverty. Mary is worried that if Josiah gets caught he will be transported, and what will become of them. The workhouse is an option, but Josiah will not hear of it, as it was a place that everyone feared.
Lorraine’s knowledge of the history of this era in Dorset, Wiltshire, and Australia is complete. As you read you feel comfortable in the knowledge that this story is wrapped in its history without omissions or changes to suit the story line. Mary and the children live through some very difficult times. Lorraine’s description of the workhouse brings to life the terror of having to resort to living in such a place. Although they are fed well, for many it is a harsh existence.
The family’s passage to Australia is eased as Mary is hired by Mister Peake to look after Missus Peake, and in the so doing manages to earn herself some money. Edwin and Lucy also help by looking after Missus Peake’s dogs Ping and Pong.
Lorraine paints an extremely palpable picture of the arrival in Australia. The dust, the heat, the bustle; for one so long on the boat it’s hard to imagine how Mary must have felt as she waited for Josiah to find her and the reader wonders if they will ever meet again.

The journey north is fraught with many obstacles, not only because of distance, but also in learning how to drive sheep. Mary had to learn how to cook on an open fire. In Dorset, Bessie Amey, who worked in the big house where Mary had found work, showed her how to make bread without yeast; this was to be a lesson well learned when they were travelling on the road in Australia.
Lorraine skilfully weaves together the twists and turns, and the struggles and the joys of the Fry family giving the reader much to look forward to as the story progresses.

Although knowing that Josiah’s Plan is Book One, and concludes with no loose ends as such, I have a need to know how the family progress. I want to see Edwin as a young man, and Lucy as a young woman. So, to my immense pleasure the next book Josiah’s Township is on the horizon where we can continue to follow the Family Fry. 

Lorraine Hunt Lynn is giving a copy of her book Josiah's Plan away so if you would like to win a copy, enter by commenting on the blog! 
Lorraine's books can be found here
And her Goodreads Blog

Louise Rule is a soon-to-be published author of Future Confronted. To learn more about Louise, follow her on Twitter and Blogger and Facebook


  1. This book sounds good! Winter is my favorite season and I love books set there. Please enter me to win a copy. Thanks! Jacqueline Baird

    1. Jacqueline, it is a good book, and I'm sure you will enjoy it.

  2. Agreed - a first-class review, there!