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Publisher's Summary

An instant New York Times best seller

Optioned for television by Bruna Papandrea, the producer of HBO's Big Little Lies

"A tour de force of original thought, imagination and promise.... Kline takes full advantage of fiction - its freedom to create compelling characters who fully illuminate monumental events to make history accessible and forever etched in our minds." (Houston Chronicle)

The author of the number one New York Times best seller Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant novel about three women whose lives are bound together in 19th-century Australia and the hardships they weather together as they fight for redemption and freedom in a new society.

Seduced by her employer’s son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early 19th-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious Newgate Prison. After months in the fetid, overcrowded jail, she learns she is sentenced to "the land beyond the seas", Van Diemen’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. Though uncertain of what awaits, Evangeline knows one thing: The child she carries will be born on the months-long voyage to this distant land. 

During the journey on a repurposed slave ship, the Medea, Evangeline strikes up a friendship with Hazel, a girl little older than her former pupils who was sentenced to seven years transport for stealing a silver spoon. Canny where Evangeline is guileless, Hazel - a skilled midwife and herbalist - is soon offering home remedies to both prisoners and sailors in return for a variety of favors. 

Though Australia has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, the British government in the 1840s considers its fledgling colony uninhabited and unsettled and views the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. By the time the Medea arrives, many of them have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by White colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land. 

In this gorgeous novel, Christina Baker Kline brilliantly recreates the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, telling the story of Australia from a fresh perspective, through the experiences of Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinna. While life in Australia is punishing and often brutally unfair, it is also, for some, an opportunity: for redemption, for a new way of life, for unimagined freedom. Told in exquisite detail and incisive prose, The Exiles is a story of grace born from hardship, the unbreakable bonds of female friendships, and the unfettering of legacy.  

©2020 Christina Baker Kline (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Exiles

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Tragic

Although "Exiles," has a good ending, I found the whole book to be terribly depressing. There is no doubt in my my mind that it is an accurate description of the cruelty and unfairness of that time. The story is very well written with wonderful characters that you genuinely care about and your heart breaks for them. I just find it hard to truly enjoy a story that is so tragic.

Caroline Lee is my all time favorite narrator. She could read the dictionary and make it sound fascinating.

74 people found this helpful

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Not impressed

Although the narrator did a good job with the voices I found this book hard to listen to and the book was quite dismal. It’s one bad turn after another for all the characters and overall it was just depressing. I did not finish this book.

47 people found this helpful

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Wonderful Narration

This story is gut wrenching, and marvelous.
The narration by Caroline Lee is the best I have ever heard on Audible. Her voices and accents captured the the personalities of each character perfectly.

29 people found this helpful

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Wonderful story.

Great story with some unpredictable twists. I felt anger, hopefulness and joy with this story.

18 people found this helpful

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Wonderfull!

One of my favorite books ever. And Caroline Lee the narrator is by far the most wonderful storyteller. Her voice is soothing and never annoying like so many others I have listen to . I was not only entertained from beginning to end but I also learned quite a bit of history. I highly recommend this book for all women.

13 people found this helpful

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Loved the Story but it Feels Incomplete!

I loved this story and felt the narrator did a wonderful job of differentiating and fleshing out the voices all the different characters... However, it felt incomplete! As much as I loved the ending, it felt as though someone had chopped several chapters out of the book before it came. I kept thinking “that can’t be it!” I want to know more about what happened to Mathinna - it feels as though she was cheated out of more of an arc/we were cheated out of her story.

11 people found this helpful

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New favorite author

This novel is absolutely beautiful. There are moments that are so incredibly sad but don’t give into despair! This is worth the time. This is the first time I’ve read this author and I can’t wait to read more.

11 people found this helpful

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At best Average, At worst Tedious

This book was average at best. If you’re interested in learning about this time in history where prisoner ships were sent to Australia for colonization you’ll enjoy it. Otherwise it was slow and often tedious. The first half of the book = 2 stars. The last 1/4 = 3 stars. It was only possible to connect and care about any character in the last quarter of the book. The characters lacked that vital spark. The book felt like the writer was focused on the time/place/history as opposed to story development and characters. Unfortunately it made the book dull. The story was okay and the narration was average at best and at times grating. I personally wouldn’t recommend this book.

8 people found this helpful

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Exceptional

Exceptional story telling based on historical events. A very good read/listen. If you like Christina Baker Kline you will enjoy this book.

6 people found this helpful

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Fabulous!

Wonderful story. So well recorded! Loved it.
I knew little about this history. You won’t be disappointed.

6 people found this helpful