A Woman’s Sphere by Audrey Adams


In the mid-19th century a woman’s place in society – or sphere – was dictated by very different standards and expectations. Florence is trapped in a marriage she can’t escape. Consoled by her art, her involvement in the temperance movement and battle to gain women the vote. But there is a tragic disruption.

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A Woman’s Sphere is the story of Florence Pettigrew’s marriage to Charles Spurway, the son of a transported convict and known as ‘Cornstalk’ – a name commonly given to children who grew taller and stronger than their convict parents.

Florence a free woman and talented artist, works in her father’s store in Hobart Town, Tasmania. One day, with the jingle of the shop door bell, Charles appears, wanting to buy a gift for his grandfather, a remittance man. Gradually, a relationship, not encouraged by her father, develops and leads to marriage.

Initially idyllic, the marriage encounters difficulties stoically borne by Florence. Charles, on the other hand, does not accept his lot and following his dreams and wanting to leave his ‘cornstalk’ label behind, decides to move to New Zealand. In the Wairarapa township of Masterton he sets up as a stock and station agent. Florence has no choice but to move with him.


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