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1948. The world is struggling to regain a sense of balance after the devastation of World War II, and the sugar cane–growing community of Piri River in northern Queensland is no exception.
As returned servicemen endeavour to adjust to their pre–war lives, women who had worked for the war effort are expected to embrace traditional roles once more.
Rosie Stanton finds it difficult to return to the family farm after years working for the Australian Women's Army Service. Reminders are everywhere of the brothers she lost in the war and she is unable to understand her father's contempt for Italians, especially the Conti family next door. When her father takes ill, Rosie challenges tradition by managing the farm, but outside influences are determined to see her fail.
Desperate to leave his turbulent history behind, Tomas Conti has left Italy to join his family in Piri River. Tomas struggles to adapt in Australia–until he meets Rosie. Her easygoing nature and positive outlook help him forget the life he's escaped. But as their relationship grows, so do tensions between the two families until the situation becomes explosive.
When a long–hidden family secret is discovered and Tomas's mysterious past is revealed, everything Rosie believes is shattered. Will she risk all to rebuild her family or will she lose the only man she's ever loved?
Queensland, 1994: When location manager Claire Montgomery arrives in rural Queensland to work on a TV mini-series, she's captivated by the beauty of Starlight Creek and the surrounding sugarcane fields. Working in a male-dominated industry is challenging, but Claire has never let that stop her pursuing her dreams-until now. She must gain permission to film at Australia's most historically significant art deco cinema, located at Starlight Creek. But there is trouble ahead. The community is fractured and the cinema's reclusive owner, Hattie Fitzpatrick, and her enigmatic great nephew, Luke Jackson, stand in her way, putting Claire's career-launching project-and her heart-at risk.
Hollywood, 1950: Lena Lee has struggled to find the break that will catapult her into a star with influence. She longs for roles about strong, independent women but with Hollywood engulfed in politics and a censorship battle, Lena's timing is wrong. Forced to keep her love affair with actor Reeves Garrity a secret, Lena puts her career on the line to fight for equality for women in an industry ruled by men. Her generous and caring nature steers her onto a treacherous path, leaving Lena questioning what she is willing to endure to get what she desires.
Can two women-decades apart-uncover lies and secrets to live the life they've dared to dream?
Charlotte Kavanagh's beloved grandma Katarina Sanchez is gravely ill, so when she begs Charlotte to travel to her homeland in Andalucía to uncover the truth behind a mysterious painting, Charlotte agrees. Taking leave from her soul–destroying job and stalled life in Australia, Charlotte embarks on a quest through Granada's ancient cobble–stoned streets and vibrant neighbourhoods. There she meets Mateo Vives, a flamenco guitarist with a dark past, and through him she quickly becomes entangled in the world of flamenco and gypsies that ignites a passion she had thought lost.
But the mystery surrounding the painting deepens, reaching back in time to the war–torn Spain of the 1940s and Charlotte discovers her grandmother's connection to the Spanish underground. Who is her grandmother, really? What is Mateo's connection to her family history? And why is finding answers to a family mystery turning into a journey of self–discovery for Charlotte?
Weighed down by secrets, betrayals and shattered relationships, Charlotte finds herself questioning the true meaning of heritage, family and love.
When Australian Lily Johansson earns the opportunity to dance for the prestigious Bohème Ballet in Paris, she fulfils a lifelong dream and continues a family legacy – but it comes at a cost.
While Lily falls in love with the City of Light and her professional life catapults her into fame, her personal life suffers as the relationship with her fiancé deteriorates. On a stormy night, an argument sends Lily racing across the road and a speeding car tragically changes her life forever. Lily's heart, once full of love and hope, is smashed to pieces and her career crumbles into a hopeless mess. Stumbling into a solitary future she'd never planned, Lily must learn to live with the grief of losing the man she loved and find her way in an unfamiliar world.
They will dedicate their lives to their country, but no one will ever know...
A compelling story about tenacity and friendship, inspired by the real codebreaking women of Australia's top-secret Central Bureau in WWII. For readers who love Judy Nunn and Kate Quinn.
1943, Brisbane: The war continues to devastate and the battle for the Pacific threatens Australian shores. For Ellie O'Sullivan, helping the war effort means utilising her engineering skills for Qantas as they evacuate civilians and deliver supplies to armed forces overseas. Her exceptional logic and integrity attract the attention of the Central Bureau - an intelligence organisation working with England's Bletchley Park codebreakers. But joining the Central Bureau means signing a lifetime secrecy contract. Breaking it is treason.
With her country's freedom at risk, Ellie works with a group of elite women who enter a world of volatile secrets; deciphering enemy communications to change the course of the war. Working under immense pressure, they form a close bond - yet there could be a traitor in their midst. Can the women uncover the culprit before it's too late?
As Ellie struggles with the magnitude of the promise she's made to her country, a wedge grows between her and those she holds dear. When the man she loves asks questions she's forbidden to answer, how will she prevent the double life she's leading from unravelling?
'An intriguing story of courage, friendship and resilience.' - Belinda Alexandra
Dreaming of Spain: A free prequel to the upcoming Under the Spanish Stars by Alli Sinclair, February 2015
Charlotte Kavanagh is averse to risk and researches every decision she makes. Although it hasn't helped her recently with her failed romance, a job she despises and a strong feeling there is a better life out there–somewhere.
When her grandmother takes ill and requests Charlotte travels to Spain to solve a mystery, Charlotte faces a huge decision–stay with the status quo or face her fears and take the biggest risk of her life…
A sweeping saga about love, truth, grief and passion – and what it takes to fulfil a dream.
Ballerina Viktoriya Budian narrowly escapes Russia with her life. She arrives in Paris determined to start afresh with the famed Ballets Russes but her newfound success is threatened when her past returns to haunt her. Forced to choose between love and fame, Viktoriya's life spirals out of control and the decision she makes seriously affects the lives of many for years to come.
Paris, present day
Australian dancer Lily Johansson returns to Paris, the city that broke her heart and destroyed her ballet career, hoping to ease the guilt over her fiancé's death and to make amends with her estranged sister, Natalie, a ballerina with the Bohème Ballet. Terrified of loving again, Lily nevertheless finds herself becoming entangled
with talented composer Yves Rousseau.
Meanwhile, vying for the role honouring Viktoriya Budian, Lily's sister Natalie develops an unhealthy obsession. As Natalie's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, Lily fears for her sister's safety and sanity. When Natalie goes missing, Lil and Yves set out on a desperate quest across France to find her and, along the way, battle their own demons.
Could the search for her sister lead Lily to realise that ballet – like love and life – should not be abandoned so easily?
Charlotte Kavanagh’s beloved grandmother may have made peace with her mortality, but Charlotte isn’t yet ready to do the same. There is still so much she wants to know about her abuela—like the truth about her youth in Spain, her days dancing flamenco—all subjects Katarina has refused to speak of. And when she becomes ill, Charlotte fears losing her forever—along with any chance to know the history that is also part of her own legacy . . .
Yet despite her fragile condition, Katarina rallies, and Charlotte hopes she may have had a change of heart about revealing her secrets. It’s a wish that will challenge Charlotte to break out of her perfectly ordered life in ways she never expected. Does she have the courage to step out of her routine—to leave the country and discover the woman her grandmother once was—and perhaps even find herself along the way? . . .
From Carla Caruso - A chance meeting with a pro-surfer on an island getaway ...
From Maria Lewis - The world of women's surfing throws two recent bedmates together ...
From Alli Sinclair - A world-famous performer finds her heart and a way to fight her demons in Rio de Janeiro ...
From Tess Woods - A Cornish beach retreat proves a full reawakening ...
'As with all fabulously written short stories they leave you hankering for more. These authoresses' handiwork is no different. I love the surfing aspect, I loved the strength and independence of all the female characters; they ran the show, not the men. Great collection, I hated reaching the end' Melinda H, NetGalley