Prequel – The Conviction of Hope

When James Bryan Cullen takes on convict transportee Elizabeth Bartlett in 1796 as a housekeeper, his challenge is to convince her that life on Norfolk Island is worth living. But how do you come back from being wrongly accused of a crime, then exiled to the other side of the world, and losing two sons?

He is thirty-two years older, transported on the First Fleet, long a free man, a constable, a landowner. She’s pregnant, her life such as it was, in tatters.

With nothing to lose, Elizabeth settles into an existence as a convict slave, waiting for her master to expect more than cleaning and cooking.

Is Cullen the gentle soul he appears to be?

In a society that treats her as worthless, should she dare to hope?


“Brilliant as are her previous books
Reviewed in Australia on January 29, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another book to keep wanting to read the next page. If you haven’t already, get hold of this author’s previous publications. Excellent and great gifts for the readers in your family/friends.”


Totally absorbing story of the lives of two unfortunate, but amazingly courageous people. They overcome the horrendous obstacles thrown at them by the inhumane, draconian justice system that was 18th Century England. I can see a TV series on the horizon. A truly great read, could not put it down.

Denise Wood

I was on the Ship helplessly watching the degradation of these convicts. Some innocent, paying the price of brutality of mankind in desperate times.

You can break a man’s skin, but not his spirit. Cullen survived. I owe him. Elizabeth endured hardship, developed strength. I sat next to her along the way, in knowing her passionate nature would emerge through her destiny.

Beautifully written, characters exposed carefully but honestly. I flinched and smiled when I finished reading this book. A must read for all of us. A visit to Norfolk Island is now essential.

Debra Hammer

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read (Historical Fiction)

1 November 2019 – Published on

Verified Purchase

This is the second (historical fiction) book I have read from this author, and I enjoyed it as much as the first. This book has many elements of the first one: it is a story of a man who is convicted of a crime and now he has to spend the rest of his life in exile. The descriptions and events are historically accurate, and you can see the author has spent a lot of time researching the book and knows her stuff. Just under 200 pages, the book is an easy and enjoyable read, and it is full of wonderful characters to boot. I highly recommend this book to the fans of the genre.