'The central character, Old H.B., as he was known, is a remarkable lump of a man in whom runs the craving of the pioneer to conquer the stubborn land, and the reader follows his ambitious course as he lays his hands upon a thousand square miles of country which had defied subjugation, and gradually masters it to his will. Crude, and almost savage, he works an unscrupulous way to financial strength, and In the hour of triumph experiences the bitterness of defeat at the hands of a man whom he had at tha outset sent to gaol for a murderous assault which H.B. knew to have been the work of another. More savoury side lights are to be found in the pathetic simplicity of Sary who with gratitude takes on from H.B. a selection which is well-nigh hopeless; in the sentiment of the wooing of Donald and Georgina; in the pathos of Sandy's loss of his beloved Martha, a victim to unattended childbirth; and in the countryside humour of ever-jocular men filled with the true philosophy of bush life.'
'Another Cottrell Novel', Telegraph, 15 November 1930, p.14.
The previous chapter revealed how, in the early 1930s, Norton's publication of Henry Handel Richardson s Ultima Thule and the Fortunes of Richard Mahony trilogy brought Australia and its literature "deep into the consciousness of reading America' The impact of Richardson's novels was strengthened by the appearance of Katharine Susannah Prichard's Coonardoo in 1930 from the same publisher. Richardson's and Prichard's novels were in fact part of a longer sequence of ambitious Australian works published in the United States from the late 1920s to the mid 1940s. In contrast to the decline in the number of Australian novels published in America across the first three decades of the twentieth century, at the very end of the 1920s we begin to see a cluster of substantial novels appearing together - and being brought together by reviewers. Fiction publishing in general in the United States grew rapidly from a low point in 1919 to a peak in 1929; the number of titles dipped slightly through the Depression years but high levels continued until the early forties. Against this background, the pattern of publication and increased receptivity for Australian novels was sustained until the mid-forties, but with little continuity into the postwar years when many writers had, in effect, to begin again in establishing the viability of Australian work in the American marketplace. There is, then, a relatively discrete historical trajectory across the two decades from the late twenties, emerging from almost nothing and collapsing in the later forties as both cultural and industrial circumstances change.' (Introduction)