Multi-award-winning historical fiction author, Vicky Adin is a genealogist in love with history and words.
After decades of research, Vicky has combined her skills to weave together the intriguing secrets she uncovered with historical events in a way that brings the past to life.
Fascinated by the 19th Century pioneers who undertook hazardous journeys to find a better life, especially the women, Vicky draws her characters from real life stories: characters such as Brigid, the Irish lacemaker in ‘The Girl from County Clare and Gwenna, the Welsh confectioner, or Megan who discovers much about herself when she traces her family tree in ‘The Cornish Knot’.
Vicky Adin holds an MA(Hons) in English and Education. She is an avid reader of historical novels, family sagas and contemporary women’s stories and enjoys travelling.
For more information, visit her website http://www.vickyadin.co.nz
Against all odds, the plucky sweet maker refuses to relinquish her dreams.
Winner of an IndieB.R.A.G medallion, a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award and a BGS Gold Standard Quality Mark.
Amid the bustling vibrancy of Auckland’s Karangahape Road, Gwenna Price is determined to bring her Pa’s dream to life – and she would if it wasn’t for her domineering stepbrother, Elias.
Instead of opening a shop to sell their hand-made sweets, it would only be a matter of time before the whole business collapsed with him in charge. She had to save it.
Throughout the twists and turns of love and tragedy, Gwenna is a young woman with uncommon courage in an era when women were expected to stay at home.
But Gwenna is irrepressible. Nothing will stand in her way. Blind to anything that distracts her from creating her legacy, Gwenna risks losing the one thing that matters to her the most.
Auckland, New Zealand
For the moment, she felt free – deliciously free – only too aware the illusion would pass soon enough.
Gwenna Price hurried along busy Karangahape Road towards Turner’s, the greengrocer. Her boots crunched along the hardened grit as she swung her basket and called a cheery good morning to shopkeepers preparing for the day ahead. She loved watching them sweeping footpaths, cleaning windows or winding out the shop awnings, unless they were lucky enough to have a fixed verandah. Other merchants set their wares out in doorways and along their shopfronts, seemingly indifferent to the rattle of trams and clink of harness, or the clomp of horses’ hooves and bicycles whirring past.
Gwenna delighted in these sounds as the day came to life, exhilarated by all the hustle and bustle. She waved to the girl changing the window display in the milliner’s shop and stopped to pat a horse munching on oats in its nosebag, wishing her life could be as contented. In the distance, the sails on Partington’s Mill slowly turned in the breeze.
One day, she promised herself, she would be a part of all this busyness. One day.
She continued down the street, mentally ticking off her shopping list, thankful for the wide-brimmed bonnet shading her face. Her cool dimity blouse and pale grey skirt swishing around her ankles were a blessing in the warm air on a cloudless autumn day.
She pushed the niggling worry of her ailing half-brother Charlie to the back of her mind as the far more pressing worry of the charming and persistent Johnno Jones entered her thoughts. She was tempted to give in to the young man’s pleas, if only to escape life at home, except for one troublesome detail – his father, Black Jack Jones.
She and Johnno had known each other once in childhood days when his father had been the local carter and used to do odd jobs for her pa, but they’d disappeared years ago. She’d all but forgotten about them until Johnno returned over the summer.
Deep in thought, Gwenna hadn’t seen Johnno appear, as if from nowhere, as he was wont to do. He’d grabbed her hand and spun her round like they were dancing before his smiling face came into focus. His cap was set at its usual rakish angle. “How’s my favourite girl doing?”
She slapped his arm playfully, laughing, elated at the sight of him. Readjusting her hat, she tried to ignore the melting feeling that swept over her whenever he was near. As a youngster, with his impish smile and cheerful ways, Johnno had been a popular lad for running messages. He still found occasional work, but nobody hired Black Jack any longer.
“What are you doing here at this time of day, Johnno? You near scared me to death,” she teased.
“Hoping to see you, of course. How can you ’xpect a man to go for so long without seeing yer pretty face?” Johnno twisted one of her freshly curled ringlets around his finger as he leaned closer.
At his touch, a flutter ignited in places too intimate to think about. “Away with you now. Enough of your flattery, and it’s not much more’n a week since you saw me last. I’ve work to do, ev’n if you don’t.”
“Aw, Gwenna. Don’t be like that. Walk with me aways. You make my heart glad, that you do, and I need some cheering.”
“So you always say.”
His glorious brown eyes, glowing with desire, threatened to devour her, and she couldn’t resist their unmistakable message.
“All right, then, but only a wee ways. I need to get the groceries home before that stepbrother of mine thinks I’ve been gone too long. I don’t want to feel the sting of his hand this day if I can avoid it.”
“Run away with me, sweet Gwenna, and I promise you’ll never feel the sting of a man’s hand ever again.”
He led her off the main road and down a couple of twisting alleyways until there was not a soul in sight. Gently pushing her back against the warmth of the brick wall, he kissed and caressed her with a lightness of touch that sent shivers through her body. The more she quivered, the more amorous he became. She lost her heart, as well as her hat, as the fiery passions of youth flared.
“Ah, Gwenna, me love. I wish you’d come away with me. What have you got to lose? Jack and me, we’re leaving this night to try our luck down south.” Johnno always called his father by his nickname. There were far too many John Joneses, even in Auckland, not to differentiate them in some way. “The wagon’s all loaded and only needs you to decorate it.”
Gwenna had heard this argument before, more than once, and it was enticing, but not if she had to be anywhere near his father: something evil burned in that man’s dark eyes.
If only Pa were still with us, she wished fervently. He would advise me. She shook her head to chase away her futile thoughts. Her stepbrother, Elias Hughes, was head of the household now, and life had changed.
“We’ve been through this afore, Johnno. Sometimes the devil ya know is better than the one you don’t. And I can’t leave Mam just yet. She’s enough on her plate caring for young Charlie. He’s mighty sickly, and Elias wouldn’t care whether he lives or dies.”
Never to be undone and always philosophical, Johnno shrugged his shoulders. “Well then, give us some more of those tasty kisses to take with me on me travels. I’ll have to store ’em up till I return.”
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