The Killing of Louisa by Janet Lee. (2018).
**3.5 out of 5 stars**
New South Wales, 1888 – Louisa Collins was sentenced to death after being tried multiple times for the alleged murders of her two husbands. A deciding factor in those trials was the testimony of her young daughter. These events followed a life of love, grief, loss, difficult marriages, financial hardships and the deaths of several of Louisa’s children. Will Louisa confess to her crimes before meeting the hangman?
This novel is an interesting fiction narrative which is based around a true event – the death sentence handed to Louisa Collins. This book takes place while Louisa is in prison during and after her fourth trial, and she is reflecting on her life and holding hope that she will be reprieved. The concept is clever and the manuscript won the Emerging Queensland Writer category of the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards. Sections from real newspaper clippings are included throughout the book which really reflect the times and attitudes towards an uneducated woman from low class. Even though it’s fiction, it is well written so the reader can appreciate how difficult life would have been for the real Louisa.