Polynesia, 1866: Sebastian Churnside and Charity Trescothick have been acquainted forever. Only when tragedy strikes and he rushes to her aid does he realise she is much more than the dutiful daughter of a missionary, and she realises he is more than an aloof businessman. That do... read full description below.
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When 'The Silver Star' billows into the bay the last person Charity expects to see is Sebastian, the aloof businessman son of kindly Captain Churnside. "I have come to help," he says simply and warms her heart. She has spent her life assisting the work of her parents, now with her mother dead and her father dying she must leave Makatea to make a life of her own. Before then she will nurse her father to the end.
Sebastian's preconceptions about Charity crumble as he assists her ease Trescothick's final hours: she is much more than a dutiful daughter. And it is soon cler to Charity that Sebastian is far more than an aloof businessman.
Trescothick is terrified about Charity's future. He berates himself for failing to resettle her among friends in Sydneytown years ago. Sebastian is the answer to his prayers. He connives to have him and Charity marry - a hard task given each is scarred by childhood tragedy, and in all the years of their acquaintance they have never warmed to one another. Can they be persuaded to marry? And if so, will it be for Trescothick's peace of mind alone or will tenderness and passion set their relationship alight?
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For as long as I can remember I've been intrigued by what pushes people to leave their homeland and search for another place to live their lives. Sometimes the reasons are pretty obvious - freedom, safety, opportunity, space, beauty. In my case, I travelled with my husband wherever his work took him and these days live in Christchurch, New Zealand. Before then we lived in Polynesia for almost a decade.
We lived on remote islands in the eastern Southern Seas, tiny scraps of land in a vast sea that were first inhabited over four thousand years ago as people left Havaiiki - wherever that might have been - and set out for something better or simply different. Those early seafarers travelled on fragile trimarans that should never have survived the long and arduous journey across the mighty Pacific. They should have been swamped and sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The passengers should have died from thirst or hunger, or from being tossed overboard and eaten by sharks. But they survived, sustained by coconuts and fish and by their knowledge of the stars and the patterns of the sea and the weather. They were courageous people, intelligent and beautiful with a lusty appreciation of life. And they found what they were looking for.
Then Europeans came - explorers and adventurers, whalers and sandalwood gatherers, traders and missionaries, good people and bad people and everything in between. Most of them were men who might have thought they'd died and gone to heaven because of all the sex and erotic dancing under the moon, but by the end of the 1790's the missionaries were coming and brought wives with them.
In some ways the Europeans found themselves in paradise on stunningly beautiful islands described as emeralds scattered over a sapphire sea. Fish and fruit were abundant. The islanders wise in the use of medicines made from shrubs and nuts and seaweed.
But the clash of cultures would have been enormous. Polynesians took it for granted everything was to be shared - "sharing" was tantamount to theft to the Europeans. Polynesian open expression of joy or grief would have been alien to 19th century Europeans. Beliefs about sensuality and promiscuity were miles apart. To put it simply, Polynesians believed this was right and that was wrong and Europeans often believed the opposite.hurch congregations half-way around the world.
This then is the world where my Southern Seas Series heroines and heroes live - more can be found on my website: http://www/gwendoline-ewins.com