In a stunning debut novel that evokes the epic scope of Colleen McCullough's classic The Thorn Birds, Harmony Verna creates a poignant story of forbidden love and unwielding courage, set in Australia and America in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The desert of Western Australia is vast and unforgiving. It's a miracle that the little girl dressed in rags is still breathing when an old miner discovers her. Even more so that he is able to keep her alive long enough to bring her to the town from which she'll take her name: Leonora. Sent to an orphanage, mute with grief and fear, Leonora slowly bonds with another orphan, James, who fights to protect her until both are sent away Leonora to a wealthy American family, James to relatives who have emigrated from Ireland to claim him.
When many years later Leonora is given a chance to return to her beloved Australia and Wanjarri Downs, she comes face to face with James. James has encountered many hardships and grown from a reticent boy into a strong, resourceful man. He knows her roots and her heart are here, among the gum trees and red earth, but with Leonora married to another and war, turmoil, and jealousy testing their courage, will they be able to fight their way back to each other?
Sweeping in scale yet filled with intricately drawn characters and vivid details that conjures both the elegance of the salons of high society and the red dirt of the Australian outback Daughter of Australia is storytelling at its most compelling.
“Those who savored Colleen McCullough’s novels will enjoy Verna’s debut, which is an intriguing saga of a woman’s triumph over adversity. Verna creates a powerful testament to courage and love in this beautiful yet simply told story of friendship, family and the ties that bind us to our homeland. Verna gives saga fans a real treat.”– RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
"It is the best I have read in many years, if not the best ever – my words are not enough to convey the pure wonder of Daughter of Australia. " - Brenda, #7 Australian Reviewer on Good Reads
"I was immersed from the very first page. From the moment that little girl is abandoned in the desert and rescued by 'Ghan' (what a poignant and sincere character he turned out to be) until the end when Leonora draws the strength from her Australian roots to face her demons and carve out the life she deserves. This book is absolutely littered with characters that will draw you in, make you laugh and make you cry. " - Great Reads & Green Leaves Blog