'A entertaining example of the family history kind of novel. This particular family, descended from the historic Simon to begin with, has been enlivened about a hundred and fifty years ago by the irruption of a frivolous and enchanting French lady, Madeleine des. Baux. One of her grandsons, :Henry, sails with his family to -join a brother, Simon, who has taken up land near Port Phillip ; and becomes one of the makers of his colony. The 'marriages of his children and their cousins, and their inter-mixture with Spanish; Irish and Scots colonists, provide the matter of the book ; and, since their characters are varied and whimsical, it is entrancing matter. Incidentally we get some vivid impressions of Australia before and after the gold rush. The early love story of Richard and Aida provides a passage of singular beauty ; and when at the end of the book Raoul, who looks " like a cynical angel," sinks into the frank embrace of her daughter Madeleine, we feel that the French ancestress is still triumphant. This is a witty and picturesque book, with a keen sense of flavor in place and personality. ...'
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)