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The Birdman's Wife - Melissa Ashley

Paperback Published: 27th March 2018
ISBN: 9781925584387

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A woman overshadowed by history steps back into the light . . .

Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman's Wifei> at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man.

Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate, and mother to an ever-growing brood of children. In a golden age of discovery, her artistry breathed wondrous life into hundreds of exotic new species, including Charles Darwin's famous Galapagos finches.

In The Birdman's Wife, the naive young girl who falls in love with a demanding and ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to collect and illustrate Australia's 'curious' birdlife.

In this indelible portrait, an extraordinary woman overshadowed by history steps back into the light where she belongs.

About the Author

Melissa Ashley is a writer, poet and academic who tutors in poetry and creative writing at the University of Queensland. She has published a collection of poems, The Hospital for Dolls, articles, essays and short stories. The Birdman's Wife is her first novel. As part of her research to write her PhD dissertation on Elizabeth Gould, Melissa became a taxidermy volunteer at the Queensland Museum. She's also a passionate amateur 'twitcher'.

Great Read.


I enjoyed the read. There are facts I did not know about the methods used to study birds. I was appalled at the cruelty involved. The minute details became a bit repetitive, merely padding. On the whole well written and holds reader's attention most of the time.



keeping it to read on holidays


great holiday reading


Finely researched, exquisitely written.


Elizabeth Gould is at last writ large. For too long she has been a shadow in the life of her husband, John Gould. Melissa Ashley has illuminated her life and times and has described a part of our history, as yet unknown.

Bootawa, NSW


Loved it!


Great read!



A gentle read that celebrates nature


This is a beautiful, gentle story that celebrates nature, resilience and love.



99.9% fiction


I purchased this book thinking that it was of a historical nature, to learn more about Mrs. Gould. Unfortunately nothing new can be learned. It is a work almost entirely fictional.



The Birdman's Wife

3.7 6


ISBN: 9781925584387
ISBN-10: 1925584380
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Published: 27th March 2018
Publisher: Affirm Press
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.1  x 2.9
Weight (kg): 0.54
Edition Number: 1

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