During her short life, she encounters everything intolerant, cruel Victorian society can throw at people it considers to be animals. She surmounts the savagery of the white invader by conquering hate with love. Even beyond death, she spreads compassion, then she returns a second time, with an ending that will touch your heart.
Maraglindi: child of the land, fruit of an evil deed, and instrument of love.
Here is one of the pivotal moments in the story:
Gerald sat on the edge of his bed, exhausted from the effort of having got dressed. The door opened, and the great stomach came in, followed by Father. That's how Gerald always thought of him. Only, this time he didn’t manage to have the usual inner grin.
Father stopped and looked down at Gerald. “You ready to come home?” he asked, as if he didn’t care one way or the other.
“Yes Father, but...”
“Roger. How is Roger?”
“Your dog? I had to put him out of his misery.”
“Oh.” Gerald managed not to cry.
“It was only a dog. You can have another one if you want.”
Gerald wanted to say no, he was not only a dog, he was my friend, but Father would never understand.
“Come on then.” Father turned and started walking for the door.
Gerald managed to stand, then with a little cry collapsed back onto the bed.
Father turned, impatience painted on his face. “Be a man,” he grated.
Gerald bit his lip and stood again. He took a step, wobbled, then slipped to the floor.
Father’s roar vibrated the room. “A man shows no weakness! What are you, a milksop?”
Dr Horton stormed through the door, shouting nearly as loudly as Father, “Mr Kline, this is unconscionable!” He lifted Gerald back onto the bed even as Bill came running in. The doctor said to him, “Get the letter of instructions.” Bill returned almost immediately, and gave Father an envelope.
Dr Horton glared at Father. “Now you listen here, Mr Kline. Six of the seven boys have died.” Gerald’s heart formed a knot at hearing this reminder. “Your son still lives -- barely. If your lack of consideration kills him also, then you’ll be a murderer.”
I’m a murderer, Gerald thought, in his mind’s eye seeing the little black boy with George’s dog at his throat.
The doctor and the nurse helped Gerald to stand, and one walking on each side, gently assisted him toward the door. Even so, he was panting, his knees shaking, by the time they reached the front entrance. Bill stepped up into the carriage, took hold of Gerald under the arms, while Dr Horton lifted the lower half of his body.
Gerald slumped onto the upholstered seat, thinking, I don’t deserve this care. Why couldn’t I have died too?
This meticulously researched book of historical fiction is very relevant to our modern times, when hate and discrimination are becoming the norm once again.
Writer of Australian historical fiction Margaret Tanner: “Bob, I loved the story, didn’t want to stop reading it.”
Florence Weinberg, author of exciting, true-to period historical crime mysteries: “Dr. Bob Rich’s powerful work, while set in the past, is deeply relevant today, as we witness hatred and prejudice spread by persons in powerful places, through the power of modern media. We need you, Maraglindi! Come, Guardian Angel!”
Max Overton, award-winning writer in multiple genres including historical fiction: “Guardian Angel is a book I would not hesitate to recommend, not just as a story that describes the racial discord of earlier times, but also as one that holds out a hope that things can be different. We live in times where hate is rearing its ugly head once more, so we need stories like this to remind us that hate can be overcome, not by violence and more hatred, but by love and acceptance.”