Jerry P. (Santa Rosa, CA)
Kate Grenville is a terrific writer who writes elegant, simple prose. Many sentences clearly describing the dilemmas Lieutenant Rooke, the main character, experienced were short and contained words that were less than eight letters. (If only Carl Jung could write like that).
I enjoyed the book - yet I was left with ambivalent feelings about the widespread colonization that has occurred throughout history. In how many countries were the lives of the indigenous people improved after they were colonized? I'll leave that discussion to book clubs.
Marion C. (Litchfield, NH)
Aboriginals versus convicts
If you are interested in the Aboriginals and how the first penal colony was settled in New South Wales in the 1780’s, The Lieutenant is the book worth reading. Although it is fiction loosely based on a real person, the rich details of daily life, conflicts, and diversity of language drives the story leaving its readers to want more.
Sally G. (St. Johns, Florida)
The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville
A quiet, thought provoking book that was so well written and interesting. A story based loosely on a William Dawes. The Lieutenant is the story of a young man that never quite belonged as he was a genius and maybe autistic. I found him shy, naive, and innocent even after encountering war. After the war he ended on a ship taking prisoners to New South Wales. It is here that the real story takes place and Kate Grenville writes a clean and clear story of the behavior of humans.
This was a hard book to finish because I found myself lost in thought and not reading. A beautiful book.
Judy (Marysville, OH)
Beautifully written; based on historical events
In the late 1700s, Daniel Rooke, a naive astronomer/scientist with his head and heart set squarely on the stars in the sky, sails as a lieutenant with the first fleet taking English prisoners to colonize New South Wales. Two things happen. A single terrible incident foreshadows for Rooke the brutal impact of a colonizing force on the native people. And Rooke's heart opens to an astonishing native girl who teaches him how deeply the heart can feel. The inevitable choices he must make change his life forever.
If you love this book as much as I did, you will also love the books of Andrea Barrett.
Beverly D. (Palm Harbor, FL)
Australia & the Astronomer
I very much enjoyed this book. Grenville's fictionalized account of the British colonization of Australia gives an immediate & intimate perspective of the newly formed penal colony. The interactions between the "natives" and eccentric protagonist Daniel Rooke are small jewels of description. His interest and friendship with the natives rings true, as does his realization of what's important in his life. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy literary fiction; a thought provoking read.
Ruth Harris D. (Tyrone, GA)
Kate Grenville does an excellent job of writing in a 1800's Englishman's voice. Daniel Rooke and others travel from England to New South Wales. Daniel, a student of math, astronomy and languages, goes to study weather and the nighttime skies. Though an outsider in a strange land he finds himself feeling, for the first time in his life, as if he belongs. He befriends the natives and tries to learn their language, their ways. The story is based on historical records but doesn't read as such. Interesting story written well.
Eileen P. (Pittsford, NY)
Australia's origins and the importance of words
In this beautifully written and delightful novel, Grenville seamlessly weaves historical fact together with a multitude of philosophical questions in order to create a vivid and compelling story. As Daniel Rooke and his fellow Englishmen explore a new and challenging land, Rooke makes equally important discoveries about what kind of man he is and what friendship can mean. The Lieutenant would be an outstanding discussion book.