Three women from very different backgrounds, bound by friendship, separated by destiny.

It was impossible, but in full view of the church, the Governor and wedding guests ...

The bride had vanished.

Some girls are born to be loved, some are born to be useful.

Some girls are born to be bad.

Indulged and wealthy Kat Fitzhubert is seemingly 'sold off' in an arranged marriage in a colony across the world. Lady Viola Montefiore is the dark-skinned 'changeling' of a ducal family, kept hidden and then shipped away. Titania Boot is as broad as a carthorse, and as useful.

In the turmoil of an Australia in 1853 that reinvents itself from convict colony to a land of gold, one woman forges a business empire. One brews illegal poteen with a bushranger. And the third vanishes on her wedding day in a scandal that will mystify the world.

In this magnificent and broad-sweeping saga, Jackie French defies the myth of colonial women as 'merely' wives, servants or whores. Instead portraying them as business women, farmers, bushrangers and brewers of illegal poteen, as well as arbiters of their destiny.