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By 1840 the colony of New South Wales was expanding. Transportation of convicts to the east coast ended, and many free squatters set out to settle on lands to the south. In 1836, the Government in London authorised Governor Bourke to establish a settlement in The Port Philip District of New South Wales, and an Association was formed to make the district a separate colony.
Timothy, Tiger and Bella Carstairs eldest son has turned 21. Bored with his Government job and intent on seeking adventure and a new life away from Sydney, Tim decides to journey south in an endeavour to find this adventure, accompanied by his Uncle Carlos. Where else to find it, but in a newly formed settlement.
In the 1840s the road south might not be as hazardous as the one across the mountains travelled by his parents when he was a child, but the month long journey overland holds many dangers and challenges to be faced. Escaped and ex-convicts seek the easy life by forming gangs to take what they can where they can. Forced to fight off the intruders who take claim to the land they have cared for over many, many generations, the Indigenous people are faced with many trials and battles of their own.
Not the least of Tim’s personal challenges is a young headstrong woman who, uninvited, takes it upon herself to join him on his travels. When they reach their destination, their troubles have only just begun.
What I thought in maybe the first 20 pages was going to be a good read of young people and life turned out to be a really good read of all ages facing the challenges of life in a new land. People of all ages enduring the hardships of moving to a land the government said they could take for a pittance. Of course, it happened to be land inhabited by natives. Sound like the United States taking away and settling land that many thought belonged to Native Americans? It is somewhat the same idea but not your same old story.
This story told by Tricia McGill has intense characters. Strong characters you’ll enjoy and some bad ones you’d just as soon do without. Not much different than life is it? It’s listed as being of the historical romance genre. Many of you have seen me write here that I am not a romance genre girl and I’m still not. It’s true that in the journeys of this story a few people fall in love. This too is not much different than life. But I didn’t have to read about their intensely personal bedroom feelings. Was it implied or even mentioned a little? It was, but somehow it all seemed a part of the flow of the story.
It all seemed to blend in to one of those stories that keep you turning the pages as fast as you can. I didn’t want to take a break with this book, and I didn’t take many.
read an excerpt...
“My God, poor wench. Why would she choose to drag herself overland with you, I wonder.”
“Wonder no more, dear uncle. She is in search of excitement and adventure I believe. I assured you she was no ordinary wench did I not? And she is not chasing me, more a life of her own I guess.”
Carlos rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Hmm, do not be so sure. I have lived longer that you, lad, and most women do things because they have a plan in mind, a plan that often includes some poor hapless male. Mark my words, she sees you as a likely candidate for marriage.” He chuckled.
Tim made a small scoffing noise. “You are barking up the wrong tree there my man. I doubt the thought of a husband has even entered her head.” On saying that, Tim recollected she had mentioned that very thing when they were discussing this journey south. But no, that was merely some frivolous joke, meaning nothing. He quickly pushed that aside, saying, “She is not some silly little chit as I first thought but a woman of means who will be able to take her pick of the nobs once we reach our destination. And Billy is off in search of his people—the people he was taken from as a child.”
“A woman of means, you say? Hmm, I might even toss my hat her way. She is a comely lass I’ll give her that, and plucky. Not many women would dare to do what she has decided to do, unless they were accompanying their husbands.”
Tim swore. “Do not even think so Carlos. You are an old man and she is still a virtuous young woman despite her appearance. Keep your thoughts of lechery and whatever else away from her.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Award winning author Tricia McGill was born in London, England, and moved to Australia many years ago, settling near Melbourne. The youngest in a large, loving family she was never lonely or alone. Surrounded by avid readers, who encouraged her to read from an early age, is it any wonder she became a writer? The local library was a treasure trove and magical world of discovery through her childhood and growing years. Although her published works cross sub-genres, romance is always at their heart.
Tricia’s love of animals has always shown up in her books. Tricia devotes as much time and money as she can spare to supporting worldwide conservation groups and is passionate about supporting those who do all they can to preserve our wildlife for future generations, especially elephants and orangutans who seem to be getting the raw end of the deal even in this enlightened age. She also volunteers for a local community group that helps disabled adults and children to connect to the internet with provided computer equipment. When people ask what she does in her spare time, she is heard to ask, “Spare time, what is that?”
Buy links for Challenging Mountains: https://books2read.com/Challenging-Mountains