Carol Baxter is a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists and one of country's leading genealogical researchers. She has published widely in the area of Australian colonial history.
An Irresistible Temptation is the true story of Jane New: colonial temptress and habitual shoplifter. New created a scandal in Australia in the early 19th century when several of Sydney's prominent businessmen risked their careers to champion her freedom ... and antagonise the conservative local governor. This is no colonial romance; genealogist Carol Baxter is far more interested in the political dramas of the time, drawing on extensive historical material from the Jane New case-legal documents, personal letters and newspaper reports-to illustrate the animosity between the governor and his outspoken opponents. As such, An Irresistible Temptation is an interesting portrayal of the political and legal machinations of the time. Unfortunately, it's not much fun to read. The central story is buried under the weight of too much detail: too many minor characters are introduced; too many legal attacks and counter attacks are reproduced. Baxter attempts to create dramatic tension by foreshadowing the unfolding dramas, but when these dramas are finally revealed, they never quite live up to their own hype. Andrea Hanke is the editorial assistant at BOOKSELLER+PUBLISHER