The Drover’s Wife: The legend of Molly Johnson by Leah Purcell

Reviewed by
March 2020, no. 419
Ellen van Neerven reviews 'The Drover’s Wife: The legend of Molly Johnson' by Leah Purcell

The Drover’s Wife: The legend of Molly Johnson

by Leah Purcell

Hamish Hamilton, $32.99 pb, 288 pp

The Drover’s Wife: The legend of Molly Johnson by Leah Purcell

Reviewed by
March 2020, no. 419

Leah Purcell has described how her lifelong fascination with Henry Lawson’s iconic 1892 short story provided her with abundant creative ammunition. Her mother read her the story when she was five; it held a special place for them both. ‘I’d say the famous last line: “Ma, I won’t never go drovin ... she’d tear up”.’

If you haven’t read Lawson’s story or need a refresher: a nameless woman is left by her drover husband in an isolated hut with their four young children. Engulfed by sundry threats, she spies a snake. She and her dog Alligator sit up all night to guard the sleeping children.

Ellen van Neerven reviews 'The Drover’s Wife: The legend of Molly Johnson' by Leah Purcell

The Drover’s Wife: The legend of Molly Johnson

by Leah Purcell

Hamish Hamilton, $32.99 pb, 288 pp

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