The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley

1. Cover of “The Birdman’s Wife” by Melissa Ashley Publisher: Affirm Press 2016. 2. The opening lines of “The Birdman’s Wife” 3.”Birds of Australia” by John Gould. (a survey of Australian birds containing many of Elizabeth’s drawings). 4. Portrait of Elizabeth Gould, artist unknown.
The perfect shade of blue backgrounds the exquisite drawings of fairy wrens by Elizabeth Gould on this award-winning book cover.

In “The Birdman’s Wife”, Melissa Ashley fictionalizes the life of Elizabeth Gould, wife of John Gould, the famous 19th century English ornithologist/ taxidermist. Elizabeth created illustrations of John’s collection of natural specimens for publication in books on birds and animals.

  • Sydney Morning Herald “All the female characters in The Birdman’s Wife are delicately and sensitively drawn, from Elizabeth’s mother to Daisy, her first maid after she is married, to Lady Franklin, wife of the Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, who befriends Elizabeth, recognising a kindred spirit, after the Goulds arrive at Hobarton.”
  • Compulsive Reader: “Not only is this book fine fiction, but it is a thing of beauty as an object. It will beckon the reader from the shelves with its pale blue cover featuring fairy wrens, and the surprises when the book is opened and dustcover removed.”

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