Australia’s early history was as turbulent and fascinating as any other. Our shameful treatment of the indigenous people, the violence of a colony populated by convicts and the opportunities for people to leave behind their doubtful pasts and start anew provided me with a plethora of adventures for my characters. This story was set in an area where I lived for 13 years and my research of the indigenous people was done through books and personal storytelling. I have spent many years working in remote indigenous communities with people who have generously shared their stories, their culture and their humour with me and I hope I have been able to portray even a little of how it must have been.
I once asked an Aboriginal elder to tell me if I was making any cultural mistakes while I was in her community. She laughed at me and said, “we don’t look at your actions, we look at your heart. You got white skin but you got black heart. You’re all right, my girl.” I hope those who choose to read this book will feel the joy and the pain of this period of time in Australia’s history from my characters’ points of view and will feel as fulfilled at the end as I did when writing it.
Blurb: Electra Shipley lies in a mite-infested bunk, weak from lack of food and seasickness. Imprisoned and sentenced to seven years’ transportation, she sails towards the penal colony of New South Wales, Australia. Despite the odds, she is determined to survive, to clear her name, and return to her life of wealth and ease in England.
William Radcliffe has fled the betrayals of his father and fiancée to make a new life in the colony. When a transport ship from England docks, William stumbles across much more than mere trade cargo. Haunted by the beautiful convict with wild hair and golden eyes, William decides a compliant and grateful convict wife might meet his needs without the complications of love. Electra must now decide whether a loveless marriage with a “colonial barbarian” is preferable to imprisonment.
William is unprepared for the deeply suppressed passion his new wife arouses within him. Against his conviction never to love, he begins to desire Electra and the sexual tension between them sparks into a fierce physical attraction he longs to satisfy.
But Electra has made enemies on the ship and a vicious act of revenge endangers her life and the lives of the people she has come to love. Can Electra and William’s love survive the perils of this land and its inhabitants, or will their pasts destroy their future?