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1879 – Australia
Coming first won’t ruin you. Longing for it will.
Born to replace the little girl her parents lost, feisty Australian botanical artist, Viola Buckley, knows the impoverishment of being loved in the shadow of the darling who came before her. Only a first-place win for her art will secure freedom from the heartaches of a second-place childhood.
When Viola’s mother requires seaside therapy, they retreat to Phillip Island’s Blue Wren House for Rest Cure, a cruel Victorian Era remedy promising restoration at a price Viola cannot afford… or ignore. Neither can she ignore visiting American, woodworker, Silas Swift.
Widowed, quick-witted yet guarded, Silas will lose his family carpentry business unless he reclaims a long-abandoned treasure, hidden in the pieces of a kit home, now fashioned into the island guesthouse. He’s not hunting romance, no matter how beguiling his entanglements with Viola.
And she will not be burned twice, by falling into a heart that’s already loved another. Still, Phillip Island holds more than healing winds and buried treasures. For brave souls willing to face the firestorms of love, it offers second chance
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1877 – Australia
Inspired by the incredible true story of an Australian shipwreck and those who survived to tell the tale.
When the Black Swallow sinks off the Australian coast in 1877, Australian midshipman Tom Darley rescues English passenger Ada Carmichael from the disaster that claims her entire family. News of the only two survivors enchants the world, but Ada needs to hide before secrets and old foes find her. Tom is chasing big dreams of a crumbling house he will convert into a small hotel ~ but the promising start he’s acquired now sits at the bottom of the sea.
Inexplicably entangled, Ada and Tom lean upon each other to make sense of the tragedy that’s displaced them. But when scheming journalists observe their affection they drag Tom into life-altering riches and a news-worthy romance he cannot resist. So he arranges for Ada’s protection where only he might find her ~ the quiet Phillip Island farm of his friends Shadrach and Finella Jones.
And that’s where real trouble finds them. When heroic promises fail to shelter, and love refuses to be silenced, only surrender will pluck Ada and Tom from where life has wrecked them.
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1875 – Australia
Finella Mayfield hates two things: liars and thieves. And she’s determined to marry a man who’s neither. Chasing her dead father’s dreams, the twenty-year-old English bride arrives in Australia in 1875 for an arranged marriage. Anticipating her future as village preacher’s wife, she records her thoughts in her Everlasting journal.
But instead of her fiancé, Finella is met by Shadrach Jones, a poor farmer sent to collect her from the busy Melbourne pier.
This is not what her father planned. And it’s only the beginning of the unraveling of Finella Mayfield ~ the bride with no groom.
All Shadrach Jones longs for is rows of mustard and chicory. He’s busy growing a farm near the Phillip Island fishing village of Cowes, and caring for Molly, his simple sister. Far from the brutal life they remember with their ex-convict father, Shadrach’s building something new.
But he’s also made a promise to a dying friend. To collect and marry the English girl destined to never be a preacher’s wife.
Can Shadrach convince Finella she has a future with a farmer? Can he convince himself, knowing his family secrets will haunt their future?