> Skip to content

Book clubs  •  2 March 2017

 

The Unmourned

Travel into Australia’s darkest past with Meg and Tom Keneally’s The Unmourned.

A despised predatory prison superintendent is murdered. The chief suspect: a fiercely protective inmate named Grace O’Leary. But despite appearances, this case is far from cut and dried. After taking depositions from O’Leary and her fellow inmates, ticket-of-leave gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat and his loyal housekeeper Mrs Mulrooney believe her to be innocent…

The second book in Meg and Tom Keneally’s Monsarrat series, The Unmourned journeys deep into the shadows of Australia’s convict history, and makes for a stirring book club selection.

Reading Group Questions

  • Not all victims of murder are mourned, but the perpetrator must always be punished. Do you agree with this statement?
  • With the Monsarrat series, Tom and Meg Keneally are not only telling a cracking yarn, they are also exploring the forces that shaped Australia. Monsarrat has insisted Mrs Mulrooney learn to read and write, and now she and Rebecca Nelson are sharing their literacy and embroidery skills with the First Class convicts of the Female Factory. How do you think these lessons will change the lives of the female prisoners, if at all?
  • Australia was a new beginning for many people, yet a stratified society exists both within the Female Factory and in the broader society of Parramatta. Did these internecine fears and layers come over on the boats from England and Ireland with their passengers? Or do you think a new civilization and new battlefields were created?
  • Sophia Stark and Rebecca Nelson spend their days with a high-level of anxiety trying to evade their past and build comfortable futures. Early days in Parramatta must have been particularly hard on women – do you agree?
  • Why do you think historical fiction is such a popular genre, for writers and readers?
  • The Unmourned is a collaboratively authored book. Does this bother you as a reader at all, or is it an advantage, bringing twice the creativity and story in the one package?

The Unmourned Meg Keneally, Tom Keneally

Not all murder victims are mourned, but the perpetrator must always be punished . . .

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Activity
The Unmourned crossword

Settle down with a cup of eight down and test your skills. 

Article
The factory women

Research for The Unmourned led Meg Keneally into Australia’s brutal past.

Book clubs
The Spy's Wife book club notes

Much loved author Fiona McIntosh is back with an historical adventure to enjoy with your book club.

Book clubs
The Paper Palace book club notes

A magnificent literary pick for book club.

Book clubs
A Slow Fire Burning book club notes

An exciting new thriller from the author of The Girl on the Train to discuss with your book club.

Book clubs
Mirror Man book club notes

Ponder whether one life is worth more than another with Fiona McIntosh's latest thriller.

Book clubs
The Deep book club notes

This heart-stopping thriller set on the rugged coast of Tasmania is an excellent choice for book club.

Book clubs
The Chase book club notes

Track down your reading group to discuss Candice Fox's latest thriller.

Book clubs
Everything Changes book club conversation starters

Stephanie Johnson shares discussion points and questions for her new book Everything Changes in this book club guide.

Book clubs
Fragile Monsters book club notes

Sweep your book club off to Malaysia with this spellbinding novel of war and family betrayal.

Book clubs
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot book club notes

A tale of extraordinary friendship and a lifetime of stories to share with your book club pals.

Book clubs
Thursday Murder Club book club notes

A classic whodunit for the most perceptive reading groups.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes