The Gallows Bird

Barbara Sumner

London 1838: The cast-out child of an aristocratic mother, Hannah ‘Birdie’ Bird is a laundry maid with a hidden past and a suspicion that the wealthy family she serves is hers.

Longing for beauty and liberation, Birdie risks everything to change her circumstances. She falls into love and crime, committing an audacious silk heist. When she is betrayed, she finds herself swept into a wave of female convicts, transported to the ends of her known world.

The journey to the early Australian settlement drives the women to deepest despair. Birdie finds moments of wonder in even this darkest hour, and forms deep bonds of solidarity with her fellow prisoners. But greater than even the trials onboard is the fear of what awaits them in Sydney Cove.

What chance does Birdie have of beating the odds? Can she fight her way to the freedom and life she longs for so fiercely?

Drawn from the rarely celebrated true stories of female convicts, The Gallows Bird vividly evokes a far-off time. This striking debut tells the story of enduring love and friendship, and the bold, wildly underestimated women who refused to let history dictate the boundaries of their lives.

Paperback & ebook
Historical Fiction

Barbara Sumner

Barbara Sumner is an author and filmmaker. Her back catalogue of achievements includes producing three highly acclaimed feature documentaries, a career in journalism, event production, television, bringing up four daughters and being accepted into a Masters program at the tender age of 60.

Barbara lives with her husband Thomas Burstyn in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, with a curmudgeonly ginger cat. She spends her time reading, writing, walking, and corrupting her grandchildren with wild ideas about life, love, and imagination. The Gallows Bird is her debut novel.

Pantera Press

Pantera Press is a young and enthusiastic publisher of titles that spark imagination, conversation and change. We publish fiction, non-fiction, illustrated non-fiction and a growing list of children’s titles.

The Gallows Bird
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Katy McEwen