About my books

The main characters in my novels are drawn from my own family history. These were real people, facing the challenges of building their lives and their families in the newly established convict colony of Australia. Many of the details of their lives and the experiences they lived through have been taken from historical records. I believe there is much to be learned from our Australian beginnings and the people who found themselves here as pioneers of a country they did not choose, in a life that was thrust upon them. There is inspiration, encouragement and warnings from reflecting on the challenges they faced and the lives they lived. The legacy of their lives can live on in those of us who can find hope and faith by remembering and learning from their stories.

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Beyond the Fight

Percy Smith has always wondered why he didn't identify with his father, but he never expected the revelation about his past that comes at the beginning of the First World War. In shock and pain he finds himself in a place far from home, where he meets Mabel Smart, a young woman who is also struggling to find her own identity in her family. Both Percy and Mabel must confront the issues raised by the war; internment of German born Australians, the push for conscription, the rush of young men to fight on the battlefields of Europe, and divisions in the Australian population over enlistment. Ultimately Percy and Mabel's search will be about finding a way to be at peace with their families.



Next of Kin

Fanny Franks was raised to believe in honesty, equality and acceptance, regardless of background or circumstances. When she meets brothers Jack and Jim, she is drawn to them by the alienation and injustice which seems to pervade their lives. She is determined to intervene and help them find happiness, until trauma in her own life brings discrimination and shame for which she is ill prepared. While she deals with her own struggle she comes to understand what Jack and Jim are going through – and they find where they truly belong.



Mary's Guardian

William Douglas was transported to the Australian colony on the First Fleet after years on the streets of Lincoln. When he meets up again with an old acquaintance and proposes marriage he begins to have hopes for a new life. But Mary Groves is a girl whose heart will not be easily won. She will test the love of the man she marries. She will wrestle with herself and others as she tries to find peace within herself. William is determined to be part of shaping of the struggling Australian colony as well as his family, trusting God for what he can not accomplish himself and being tested to the depth of his faith. When they become part of a small group of emancipists who are given an opportunity to farm on the banks of the Hawkesbury River, this couple must bring to the fore all their inner resources in order to overcome the tragedies that confront them year after year. They must learn what it means to battle against the elements, to lose everything over and over, to rise up and persevere when even the heavens seem against them. William and Mary's story is one of abiding love and new beginnings in spite of corruption, hardship and heartache. Another story based on actual events and characters in early settler history.



Charlotte's Angel

Sequel to Mary's Guardian
Eliza Plumb is obsessed with finding a life of pleasure and ease at someone else's expense. And what gets in her way even more than her husband, Tommy, is her unwanted child, Charlotte. But through a strange twist of fate Charlotte meets the Douglass family, who will change the course of her life. Thomas Douglass and Charlotte have little in common. Thomas has great respect for his father, William, who has taught him to believe in himself despite his circumstances. Charlotte's mother has shown her only the most depraved way of life. In Thomas Charlotte will find a guardian angel but there are circumstances which will test Thomas and Charlotte's relationship to breaking point. This is a story about the battle to change attitudes, to overcome the past, to rise above the basic instincts of human nature and nurture the best of human potential.



Tangled Secrets

Following on from Charlotte's Angel, Tangled Secrets is a third book in this series.
In tragic circumstances Beth and her brothers are left in England to grow up without their parents. When Beth's childhood dream to be reunited with her father in Australia finally eventuates she finds that dreams do not always come true. All that seems to follow is more abandonment and a tangled web of deceit and mistakes. Will she ever find true love? Will she discover that she does not have to be alone before it's too late?



Truly Free

The fourth in the series
Betsy loves her grandfather, but he has woven a tangled web of deceit throughout his life. Now, in his death, Betsy is determined to find out the truth. What she does not plan on and must face is that the journey to truth reveals issues in her own life and also that of her father, from whom she has been estranged for many years. Will she find the path to true freedom for them all?



Suzannah's Gold

Newly released, second edition, now in Paper back and Kindle from Amazon

My first novel is the story of Suzannah Casey who was twelve years old when she was transported to the Australian colony from Ireland in 1838. When given the opportunity to begin a new life on the Goulburn Plains with ex-convict George Oakes, she could never have imagined the trauma and loss that was ahead of her. As she faces the harsh Australian land and the weaknesses of people around her, Suzannah must find within herself the strength and faith to not only survive but also rise above cruelty, disappointment, abandonment, illness, religious bigotry and finally her own yearnings in order to discover what is more precious than gold.



Rebecca's Dream

Newly released, second edition, now in Paper back and Kindle from Amazon

Rebecca Oakes is just thirteen when her mother, Suzannah, dies in the small town of Marengo, NSW in 1873. With her older brother and sisters soon involved in their own lives, Rebecca is left alone to care for her aging father. But Rebecca has a dream of her own, a dream to make something of her life, to make a difference in the world around her. However, it is not just her family constraints that stand in the way of Rebecca's dreams. The Australian society in the late 1800s is one where it is hardly possible for a woman to get an education, one where women have no property rights, no vote, no voice. Rebecca will have to fight the systems and structures of her time if she is to achieve her goals. She'll have to find the courage and strength to stand against sexual, religious and emotional pressures to make her way towards her dream, influenced by one man who hates her enough to do anything to thwart her plans, and another, who loves her enough to do anything to make her happy.



The Price of Peace

The continuing story of Suzannah Oakes' children. Rebecca, Mary, and Sarah, are three women who struggle in the late 1800s and early 1900s, to raise their children in the face of epidemics, family conflicts, prejudice and the harsh Australian bush. They must face their losses bravely and stand courageously against the obstacles they encounter year after year. The decisions they each make in the midst of these struggles will affect not only their lives but the lives of all of those around them. Though their battles have already been more than enough for any mothers to deal with, when 1914 arrives they will face their most devastating and testing struggle of all; the First World War. These years will really challenge their faith in themselves, in mankind and in God. How many of their sons and daughters will the war tear apart? How will these mothers face the loss of their sons to a battle on the other side of the world? How will they make sense of this horrific event in Australia's history?

The Face of Forgiveness

A friendship that will last a lifetime begins just before Christmas in 1839 on a convict ship in Sydney Cove. Once on land Kathryn McGuire and Norah McCann are assigned to domestic duties in the city. However within a year their lives head in different directions. One will be reassigned to a farming family on the outskirts of the settlement, where she will marry an ex-convict who gives her new hope for the future. The other will meet a man whose Irish charm sweeps her off her feet, and whose unrepentant and continuing life of crime will bring her heartache and conflict all her days. These two families will be drawn together and also torn apart by the battle to raise a family and build a life in the expanding colony. But their greatest challenges will be in dealing with broken promises, learning to forgive, and accepting that sometimes it takes more than faith and friendship to bring about lasting peace of mind.