by Tea Cooper
During my twenties I had the world at my fingertips, ridiculously blessed because my father was an airline pilot, travel was cheap and the world was my playground. Fast forward to today and I rarely leave the tiny village time forgot and the place I call home—Wollombi. For me, the old adage ‘write what you know’ has come good and the best setting for my historical romances seems to be my own backyard.
Nestled amongst the hills of the Lower Hunter in New South Wales and guarded by Mount Yengo, a major focus of Aboriginal culture dating back over 13,000 years, Wollombi is the perfect setting for an Australian historical novel.
If you’ve got some time to spare you can see for yourself. A drive from Sydney to the Lower Hunter takes you along the Great North Road built by convict gangs in the early nineteenth century. When you arrive you can visit the General Store, which still stocks groceries, household goods, stationery, local fruit and vegetables, and meats, just as it did over a hundred years ago. You can check out the courthouse and lockup where several bushrangers met their fate and sip a glass of something local while you watch the Wood Chop competition at the Tavern.
And if you’re lucky enough to catch the sunset over Mount Yengo you’ll understand that nothing much has changed in this part of the world for a long, long time.
Three of my previous books, Lily’s Leap, Matilda’s Freedom and The Horse Thief are set in and around Wollombi and the Lower Hunter, and I’m still finding stories to tell. In my next book, The Cedar Cutter, released this August, a runaway corset-maker finds herself in Wollombi in 1855.
When Roisin Ogilvie moves to Wollombi her thoughts are only of protecting her illegitimate son, Ruan, from the grasp of his powerful and dangerous father. Posing as an impoverished widow, she settles into a quiet existence as a local dressmaker. She doesn’t expect to catch the attention of Irish champion cedar cutter Carrick O’Connor, or any other man for that matter.
Carrick O’Connor may have won the coveted Wollombi Wood Chop, but his mind is on the beautiful seamstress and her son—or rather, on who they remind him of. Determined to exact revenge for the horrors of his past, Carrick plans to return to Ireland to seek revenge on the land agent who was responsible for the death of his wife and child, and his transportation.
But a murder charge, a kidnapping, a growing attraction, and a past that refuses to stay silent will turn both his life and Roisin’s upside down and will lead them to a hard choice. Redemption? Or cutters’ justice?
And now for the cover reveal. Once more the Harlequin cover fairies have sprinkled their magical dust and captured Wollombi perfectly, don’t you agree?
From the bestselling author of The Horse Thief comes a historical story of love, intrigue and danger in the majestic cedar forests of the Hunter Valley.