Life in the convict colony of New South Wales was harsh and often cruel. But for free-settlers like the Hassalls, Sydney was home. As one of the few eligible Australian-born girls, Mary Hassall was much admired. This recreation of her life from contemporary letters and diaries vividly portrays her emerging adulthood, romance and life in Sydney and on the islands of Tonga. This is a story of raw courage and perseverance, hope and disappointment – giving intimate insight into a vital personality that still speaks to us today.