The Moon Below is the sweeping saga of Hallie Morgan, who, in the early years of the nineteenth century, sailed halfway around the world, not knowing where she was going, to join a man she had seen only twice, when she was a child. Here she would find a country that brought her soul to life, a sun-drenched land of opportunity, peopled by convicts that England had no room for at home. She, along with the prisoners and ex-convicts, would help found a new country, a new continent, and begin the sheep industry that would make the continent famous.
Here she led others to freedom. Here she fought for justice and the plight of women who walked off the ships that brought them to this new land. If it had not been for her, they would have lived lives of poverty and abuse. History tells us that single-handedly one woman actually did all this. But I have given these attributes to my heroine who has a far different personality than either of the actual historical women on whom I base this sprawling novel. Australia, in the early 1800s, was a land of unbelievable opportunity, big skies, animals and natives like the world had never seen before, of seemingly endless land, wide open spaces and surreal landscapes. It fostered cruelty as well as hope, love as well as tragedy, opportunities that were surprising and never before experienced by anyone, any place.
Bickmore's courageous and likable heroine flees the poverty of 19th-century Newcastle, England, to marry an Australian sheep farmer, but falls in love with a doctor she meets on the voyage over.