In 1866, and the Blake twins face a dilemma. Maia is not only a homebody, but in love with her employer, and though he’s already married, she refuses to leave him and the isolated homestead in Western Australia. Xanthe isn’t happy there and has to separate from her twin for the first time in their lives. She’s eager to travel, but in 1866 that isn’t easy for a young woman on her own.
Fate brings Xanthe more than the opportunity to travel, a man to love - but there are problems, because he's above her in status and must think of his family inheritance. Maia has to face the wife of her beloved, a strange, twisted woman, who can be dangerous.
Will the twins find happiness with the men of their choice or will Destiny play more cruel tricks on them?
I had written two books about the Blake sisters, each a separate story focusing on the eldest (Farewell to Lancashire) and the youngest (Beyond the Sunset). I was left with the twins, Maia and Xanthe (27). Should I write a book each for them? No, as twins it seemed more natural for them to share the same book.
Researching Xanthe’s journey was fascinating. Historical novels seem to have focused more often on sailing ships going to Australia via the Cape - until the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Yet for decades before that, there was a busy traffic from both Australia and India/the East, going to England via Galle in Sri Lanka, Suez, then overland to the Mediterranean. By 1866 there was a railway from Suez to Alexandria, from which a steam ship sailed to Gibraltar and Southampton.
What a rich background to Xanthe’s love story! What a fascinating path for an author to follow - as well as her heroine!
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