Night Ride into Danger


Publication Date: 5 May 2021
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781460758939

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    Six mysterious passengers and seven dark secrets. Who can be trusted? It’s a dark and dangerous journey for the Cobb and Co night mail coach, but when his coach-driver father is injured, young Jem Donovan must take the reins.

    Surely a boy like Jem can’t handle a team of four horses and guide the coach on a rough bush track through fog and untold dangers? But there are six passengers on the coach tonight, each with a secret. And if Jem can’t get them all to their destination by morning, the seventh secret could be deadly ...

    Information

    Book Type: Junior Chapter
    Age Group: 10 to 14 years
    Traffic Lights: Green
    Class Novel: Yes
    Good Reads Rating: 5/5
    Literary Rating: 5/5

    Review

    This is a rip-roaring yarn that offers insights into colonial Australian life, which younger readers may not yet be familiar with. The story takes place on the nightly Cobb & Co. mail coach heading to Goulburn. Young Jem always accompanies his Paw on the journey, sitting up front and even taking the reins. His dad is the company’s most experienced and reliable driver, having never missed delivering the mail to the Sydney bound train.

    However, this night things go awry, and Paw is badly injured. Throw into the mix a motley assortment of passengers—including a convicted bushranger—all of whom are concealing secrets, and you have a terrific adventure.

    As usual, Jackie French has woven an absorbing historical tale full of interesting characters and more than a few little-known facts. For instance, Jem’s mother was a Native American married to his white American father. Such a union would have been impossible in America, so many couples came to Australia to escape the stigma of their ‘mixed race’ relationship. Likewise, the “Spanish” sisters, also passengers on the coach, are Indigenous Australians—apparently many at the time took on Latin personas to try and avoid the attitude and limitations they would otherwise face. A great read, full of derring-do, intrigue and courage.

    Themes

    horses, Colonial Australia, family, adventure, courage, bushranger, hope, camaraderie, secrets and deception, racial oppression

    Content Notes

    Not applicable.

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