Becoming Billy Dare

The words filled Paddy with a melancholy longing for his home. He thought of his mother and their very last conversation. ‘Remember, Paddy,’ she had said, ‘the greatest person in all the world is the priest…May the Lord kindle the flame in your heart and fill you with his goodness, darling boy.’

When Paddy Delaney leaves home, it is to travel to Dublin to enter St Columcille’s seminary , where he will eventually become a priest. But events there spiral beyond Paddy’s control and soon he finds himself stowing away on a ship bound for Australia.

Landing in Australia proves to be a challenge – when the ship is shipwrecked – but Paddy soon finds himself travelling the country with a circus, before trying to rough out a life for himself in Melbourne. Before he finds peace, he needs to identify his true gift.

Becoming Billy Dare is an absorbing historical novel, the second in the Children of the Wind quartet. Rich in historical detail this is a self-contained offering, but readers of the first in the series Bridie’s Fire will be happy with the overlap between the two, which sees an adult Bridie play a role.

Good stuff.

Becoming Billy Dare, by Kirsty Murray
Allen & Unwin, 2004