REVIEW: Melissa Ashley’s ‘The Birdman’s Wife’


What AusRom Today thought:

Detail rich, and perhaps rather heavy at times, The Birdman’s Wife is overall a rather compelling read which highlighted the historical tendency for women to be relegated to stand behind their husbands regardless of how much they contributed to his fame. Throughout the novel it is clear that Melissa Ashley’s research is comprehensive and extensive and this extends from her depictions of life in the 1800’s in both London and Australia, life as a woman, wife, and mother during these times, the discoveries made by husband John Gould, and Elizabeth’s life as a professional illustrator and wildlife pioneer in what was essentially a man’s world.

A fascinating read that will endear itself to those interested in historical fiction, issues faced by women historically (arguably still today), ornithology, and the creative arts.

A simply stunning debut novel from a novelist, who given how little Elizabeth Gould was acknowledged in her lifetime, has posthumously shone the spotlight on Gould celebrating her personal and professional achievements in a touching and considered manner.

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