Author(s): Candice Bruce
Everything here was eventually tainted, Ellis thought. In Australia in the 1840s, the lives of two very different women intersect. Ellis MacRorie is shipped to Victoria from her Scottish homeland by her bankrupt father; Leerpeen Weelan, her Aboriginal servant known as Louisa, has lost her tribe in a bloody act of violence. Forced to marry a man she does not love, and isolated from all society, Ellis is resigned to a wretched life on the remote Western District homestead of Strathcarron. After the tragic death of two babies, she is ready is give up altogether. Although Louisa has endured unspeakable suffering, she becomes an unprecedented source of guidance, friendship and strength for Ellis. When the American Romantic landscape painter, sketcher and collector Sanford P. Hart comes to stay at Strathcarron, the two women are transformed forever - in both enriching and devastating measures. More than 150 years later, ambitious curatorial assistant Cornelia, researching an exhibition on S. P. Hart for the National Gallery of Victoria, makes a remarkable discovery that has the potential to rewrite history. However, it is not Hart's paintings that offer a glimpse into the untold events of nineteenth-century rural Australia, but rather something very rare ...The Longing is a novel about loss, finding home and the significance of history - what is recorded and those events that remain undiscovered.
Candice Bruce has been an art historian, writer and curator for many years. She has worked as a curator at the National Gallery of Australia, Australian National Maritime Museum and Queensland Art Gallery (where she was Curator of Australian Art). She has taught Australian nineteenth century art history at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. She has published two art history books on the German-Australian Romantic landscape painter Eugene von Guerard, as well as several other art books and many articles in both academic journals and general magazines on Australian art.