London, 1864.

Any hopes eighteen-year-old Katherine Elizabeth Brady once had are now gone. She’s heard the horrible tales about Newgate, the most notorious of all prisons. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined herself being locked up there … until she was falsely accused of stealing. Now she shares a communal cell with twenty-five other men, women, and children, with no hope of release.

After his parents were killed in a fire, young James Patrick Murphy was left to fend for himself. He did his best to work hard and earn his keep, but was caught stealing bread and cheese. That one hungry, desperate act landed him in Newgate. The other prisoners there seem afraid of “Big Red,” as some call him. Rumors of his viciousness abound. But one young woman seems to see through to his heart.

Then the prisoners are given “the privilege” of being transported to Botany Bay in Australia to finish their servitude and start a new life. But there’s a catch to this freedom from the bars of Newgate: all single women must marry before departing for the rugged frontier. And love has nothing to do with it.

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