‘I’m told the journey is a long one and that good horse handlers are scarce. Confound it! I can’t look after them myself.’ He smiled at Martin. ‘Would you accept the job?’
Martin’s thoughts bolted. A trip to the goldfields. Once he found some gold he’d no longer have to knuckle his brow to anyone. This could be the opportunity he’d been waiting for.
Martin Graham knows a lot about horses. A stable hand at a Guildford inn, he jumps at the chance to join the travellers heading to the goldfields around Coolgardie. Whilst his job with the Honourable Cecil Thornton-Flatbury is destined for failure, Martin is determined to continue his journey. Along the way he joins forces with Beth Wilkes, a serving girl whose path he has crossed several times before. Their relationship is a stormy one – Beth trusts no man, including Martin. But when they come across other women needing help, Beth is all heart. Together Beth and Martin make a life on the Goldfields, and learn that finding gold isn’t the only life to be had there.
All that Glitters is a solid historical novel for readers aged 12 and over. Exploring an intriguing part of West Australian history, it does so through a plot which holds plenty of interest. Beth and Martin are likeable characters and their exploits will keep teen readers turning the pages.
Bunney has an obvious interest in Goldfields history, with the detail of the book showing depth to his research.
All That Glitters, by Ron Bunney
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2005