Author: Johanna Nicholls
Genre: Historical Romance
The Blurb: Ghost Gum Valley is a sweeping saga 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.
My Thoughts: I really don’t read enough historical novels, and when I do it is rarely one set in Australia. So was glad to find a book that reminded me that I really do enjoy historical settings and should do it more often. Through the eyes of the main characters early Australia is brought alive – warts and all. I found myself googling for pictures of the real historical locations mentioned in the story. Society is portrayed very realistically, shedding light on the complex hierarchy of early Sydney society; who is acceptable and who is not, and how to become acceptable. I found the story a little slow to get into but once it got going it took off at a cracking pace. Author, Johanna Nicholls, produced main characters that all appeared to be very strong on the outside and yet had many hidden weaknesses that had to be faced and beaten before the ‘happily ever after’ could happen. GHOSTGUMVALLEY is not just a historical romance, there were many layers to the stories with subplots, some scarily spooky goings on and a lot of suspense.
Rating: B – A really, really good read
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