The Judas Touch by Meg Hutchinson
The Number One bestseller.
When Tam's brother Benjie is wrongly accused of theft, and locked in a prison cell, his sister makes a solemn promise that she will not let the little lad down. But Fate makes her break her word almost immediately: Benjie is transported to Australia and Tam must embark upon an epic journey to find him.
Friendless and penniless, she makes her way to Bristol, finding employment as a lady's maid on board the Porpoise, a ship bound for the colonies. The voyage is long and perilous and Tam's life is threatened by two depraved seamen; though First Mate James Allen offers her his protection, she cannot return his love. For Tamar's heart already belongs to another seafaring man - Captain Nathan Burford, who, like Tamar, haunts the seas looking for lost loved ones.
Under the blazing Australian sun, Tam must endure hardship and cruelty, but she also encounters generosity and friendship from unexpected quarters on her quest. Will one poor girl right a terrible wrong and rescue her brother from the Judas Touch?