Who is He?
London, 1806: "I have a cabin booked on the 'Cambray' bound for Tahiti in the Southern Seas' he informs her mere hours before they are due to be joined as one in the sight of God and Mama and Papa and her best friend Deborah. "You may accompany me - if you wish.' Out of pique mor... read full description below.
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Hester Urquhart fell in love with artist Luke Wainwright at first sight. Years later she wishes she had never set eyes on him and he regrets playing the fool. She is compromised - by him. Forced into a marriage neither wants Luke is astonished when she determines to accompany him to the South Pacific.
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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