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Richard loses his job, so his gold-digging fiancée ditches him, leaving him alone but for Ben, a stray dog he adopted. But the day isn’t over! His ex-wife dumps a daughter he didn’t know he had on his doorstep. Rejected by her mother, Maria believes she’s an unwanted burden. Can a single dad, an anxious teenager, and an ill-treated animal find in one another the love, and the family, they crave? Richard is determined that they will; he’ll find a woman who will love him no matter what and accept Maria as her stepdaughter. Unfortunately, Richard tends to date the wrong women…
Richard and Maria’s wedding is dreamily romantic, but both of them are still haunted by past rejections. Sinister letters and unwanted gifts arrive, and the more each tries to protect the other by keeping them secret, the heavier the burden of guilt and anxiety. However, when vicious attacks on lives and property begin, Richard and Maria are determined to uncover the identity of their enemy, but they have no idea who might have a motive. Will their love hold fast or the old saying “marry in haste, repent at leisure” prove true?
A young poacher is found guilty of killing Lord Northampton’s gamekeeper and is transported to Van Diemen’s Land for life, leaving behind the common-law wife he loves. Pregnant and penniless, she faces the appalling lack of rights for women in Victorian England and is forced to make hard choices. While he suffers the deprivations of a brutal life in chains, she is determined her child will know its father; she embarks on a dangerous endeavour to follow her lover across the globe. Will the cost of her actions prove too high, for her and for all those she loves?
Continuing the story of Jem and Ella. Jem, a young poacher is transported to Van Diemen’s Land, for life, for killing one of Lord Northampton’s gamekeepers, leaving behind, Ella, the girl he loves. As Jem and his cousins plan a mutiny aboard the convict ship, HMS Tortoise, in an attempt to return home to his lover, Ella is using the only currency she has, her body, to earn the fare to follow him across the globe. The mutiny fails, and Jem faces a life in exile, but his determination to escape is not quelled. Will he escape and find his way home, or will he be forced to accept his fate and learn to love again? Can Ella raise the money to escape her loveless marriage, or will her new midsummer baby tie her to England forever?
Concluding the tale of Jem and Ella’s ill-fated love: both have been transported as convicts to Van Diemen’s Land. Ella and Jem’s baby son, William, is dying from malnutrition in the nursery of the female factory at Launceston, where she is imprisoned. In order to save his life, she has put herself forward for marriage, despite already having a legal husband, Harry, and a son, Matthew, in England. Her new ‘husband’ has gold fever and is taking her and William over Australia’s Bue Mountains in search of his fortune. Harry, in England, doubts Matthew is his son, and, desperate for a legal, blood heir, determines to hear the truth of the matter from Ella’s own lips and sets out to find her. Jem, meanwhile, still a prisoner in Impression Bay, on Van Diemen’s Land’s convict peninsula, believes Ella and William are in England. Letters from home suggest she’s with Harry, and is happy, but can Jem believe that after what Harry has put her through in the past? Unable to rest until he knows she’s safe and happy, Jem determines on a further escape attempt to reach England and Ella. Will their paths ever cross again, or is their love not meant to be?