This novel of a girl who escaped the gallows in early 19th century London, endured some pretty unspeakable treatment when she was sent to a penal colony in Australia, and ""absconded"" finally to marry the man who was to found Melbourne, is based on an actual character and circumstances which demand no further fictional improvement. It's enough of a story in itself. Sentenced to death- with a lover, Johnny, and a confederate, Jacky, at 17, Eliza is reprieved and given fourteen years in a convict settlement. Once there, she is sent to work for the jailer, Petchey, forfeits her friendship with the ""wholesome"" whore, Hannah, assures further trouble for herself when she assists the runaway Jacky in his desperate getaway. Escaping too-into the bush-she is helped by an attractive, ambitious settler -John Batman- who has not the heart to turn her in or turn her away- and finally is able to secure her freedom.... A straight-forward handling of the raw, rude facts of life in this outcast world seems to substantiate, authenticate the story further- and Eliza, a mettlesome miss, carries it well.