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Ghost Gum Valley is the second book from Australian author Johanna Nicholls. This sweeping saga is set in the early days of the Colony of New South Wales and follows the adventures of Isabel de Rolland, an English aristocrat descended from the Plantagenets, as she is sent out to the penal colony to marry Marmaduke Gamble, in a deal organised by their elders. The debts of Isabel's family are paid in exchange for the respectability that her lineage gives the rich ex- convict Gamble family. From the inauspicious beginnings of their arranged marriage, Isabel and Marmaduke develop a grudging friendship that looks to bloom into something more. But the secrets of the past are destined to haunt them and the madness and darkness of their families threaten to overwhelm them. This wonderful new story has something for everyone; a bygone era brought to life, the importance of being free of the past to embrace the future and above all a wonderful love story between two of fiction's most delightful characters.
A haunting saga of love, gold and betrayal New Year's Day 1901 sees the birth of Australia as a nation, eager to claim her place on the world stage. Clytie Hart, a daring equestrienne, is travelling with her mother in a wagon train along the back roads of Victoria's Gold Triangle. Once world-famous, Wildebrand Circus is now struggling to survive. But a chance meeting with Rom Delaney, a wild young adventurer, changes everything. His invitation to play Hoffnung, an isolated gold-mining town, promises to restore the circus's fortunes. To Clytie, the roving life is all she has ever known. Much as she loves her circus family, she longs to put down roots in a real house in a friendly bush town, and to free her mother from her violent step-father, Vlad the Knife-Thrower. Blinded by her passionate love for Rom, Clytie is desperate to prevent him volunteering for the Empire in the distant South African war. And in the face of unexpected tragedy, with the help of unlikely friendships, Clytie uncovers some stark truths. Hoffnung's respectable veneer conceals the dark secrets of a town haunted by a mystery that threatens to blight Clytie's life - and all those she has learned to love. Golden Hope is a saga as wide and sweeping as the landscape itself, told by a master storyteller at the peak of her powers.
Jake Andersen is a proud Currency lad with a swagger in his step and a joke for his mates, until he discovers the wife he is besotted with has left him, and taken their young daughter with her. A prize fighter, Jake decides to take matters into his own hands and find his wife, and the mongrel she ran off with. Fuelled by revenge he starts a long search across the colony and vows to never trust 'good women' again. Few people seem to think a gypsy girl like Keziah Stanley could ever be a 'good woman'. Separated by the law from her beloved gypsy husband, Keziah decides to travel to Australia to find the love of her life. With her tarot cards and strong beliefs, Keziah boasts she can read anybody's future, but her own life is proving harder to read, let alone manage. Daniel Browne already knows what his future will be: the life of a great artist. And he is determined to follow his dream; no matter what. When this volatile trio is thrown together in Australia, they form an extraordinary, unexpected alliance that will challenge the establishment. Love, hate, survival and revenge: all will discover the truth.
Vianna Francis, known in the colony as 'The Sydney Venus', is a notorious young mistress in keeping to a former gentleman convict, who uses her to entice wealthy men to his gaming tables. A woman of mystery, Vianna is a magnet for scandal. Was she the mistress of a Royal duke? A lady's maid who learned the tricks of the world's oldest profession when in service to a Parisian courtesan? Or the widow of a young man executed on the gallows? Men of high rank are determined to possess this passionate, mercenary beauty. The L'Estrange half-brothers were born only months apart. One brother is an idealistic dreamer, the other a volatile adventurer. And the rivals have two things in common - a fatal attraction to get-rich schemes that run afoul of the law -- and their obsession with Vianna.
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