Guest blogger: Faye Hall
Several interviews ago I was asked by a local newspaper why I chose to set all of my historical romantic suspense books in either our quiet little town, or one of the equally small surrounding shires, instead of in a more well-known and historically exciting capital city of Australia. I must admit I did think about it for a while before I answered. When finally I did, I gave her the most honest of answers—because the history of our little town here in North Queensland, and other little settlements surrounding us, is iconic and some of the most fascinating I’ve ever read about.
Is this history taught in schools around the world? Sadly it’s not. But the birth of these towns was unlike any other—developing scrub land into functioning towns; the birth of industries; a slave trade that is still rarely spoken off. All of this people lived through, holding their loved ones close to them, praying to whatever they believed in that they, and their families, might survive the struggle to live another day. Though it sounds whimsical, what helped these settlers survive through all of this was love—love for their families, but also their love to survive in what was then a new country.
I grew up on stories of the founding of my hometown in the Burdekin Shire, along with the settlements of Ravenswood, Brandon, Bowen and Sarina. The stories I was told though weren’t some fanciful dream-like romantic tale. They were tales of hardship, drought, and the birth of the sugarcane industry. The only romantic thing in all of it was how my own forefathers, who lived such lives to develop these towns, survived it all with their wives by their sides, supporting and loving them through every obstacle. It was because of this that I decided to start writing in the first place. I wanted to bring these stories of struggle and hardship and a love that could survive it all to the rest of the world.
It is true that our histories may not be as famous as say the Eureka Stockade or the settlements in such iconic states as New South Wales. Most of the townships I set my books in, though once booming settlements now have little more than a population of a few thousand people, but the towns in North Queensland have their place in the history books.
Was the reality as romantic as what was told in my books My Gift to You or Passions in the Dust? Or was it as scandalous as what could be read in Mistress of Purity or Shrouded Passions? In truth we will never know. But I like to think that through my romantic tales I can brings these towns back to life and give them a place in every readers heart just like they have in mine.
It was love at first sight when Devon Munroy first laid eyes on Lotte Higgins as she swam in the local waterhole. He wanted nothing more than to spend his future with her. He would have defied his father to do so too had she not been shot, lying bleeding and dying in his arms.
The woman he loved was dead and Devon no longer cared what was to become of his future.
Four years passed and Devon’s life had become little more than a drunken haze. All he wanted was the woman he loved back in his life and in his bed. When he reluctantly went to the local Hotel to spend the night with a woman, he didn’t expect her to look so much like Lotte Higgins. He certainly didn’t expect her to turn up at his estate as his wife’s new handmaiden.
When Lotte started work at Devon’s estate, she thought only to uncover the secrets and reveal the monster who had tried to kill her four years before. She could never have imagined the whirlwind of passion she would be swept up in with Devon Munroy, the man who still owned her heart.
Lotte knew if she were to succeed in targeting her attempted murderer, she would have to keep her true identity hidden from Devon, never revealing to him that she was in fact the woman he had thought died in his arms all those years ago. Lotte wanted nothing more than to tell him the truth, but she feared if she did than Devon’s wife, the woman whom had already tried to kill her once, would discover she had survived that night.
When more bodies began turning up around the town, all brutally murdered, Lotte knew she had let things go on long enough. She would have to tell Devon the truth about his wife and about herself and hope he loved her enough to forgive her deception.