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Georgina, a wild colonial girl, is brought up by O’Rourke, a rough and ready Irishman, who she believes is her uncle.
While helping the bushranger Johnny Dawson escape from prison, she meets and falls in love with a dashing young English aristocrat, The Honourable Marcus Lindquist.
When Johnny Dawson is ambushed and killed, Marcus finally learns the secret of what has bound him to Georgina. Johnny is her brother, not her lover as he had jealously supposed, but even darker secrets from the past overshadow their love.
How can an English aristocrat marry the daughter of convicts?
Meanwhile, twelve thousand miles across the sea, Marcus’ Godfather is plotting Georgina’s death, to keep his dark secrets from ever seeing the light of day.
The Honourable Marcus Lindquist cursed inwardly as another bump almost unseated him. What did this idiot of a driver think he was doing? Bloody half-witted colonial. He had been forced to leave England to save the Lindquist name from being dragged further into disrepute; now he was exiled in this Godforsaken penal colony. Australia was only fit for convicts and destitute immigrants.
Sylvia had ruined his life. She had betrayed him. Cast him aside to marry the heir to a Dukedom. He was just starting to think about marriage and settling down to produce heirs, when he had met and become infatuated with Lady Sylvia Hayworth. Just the thought of her full lips and lush, ripe body being given to another man almost destroyed him.
“Youse have to stay the night here.” Their uncouth looking driver poked his head through the coach window. “Too late to travel on the road now.”
“Road!” Marcus bit off an oath. Is that what they called it? Rutted track seemed more appropriate. He felt bruised and battered as he stepped stiffly from the coach and waited for the other occupants to alight.
He stamped his feet to get his circulation moving again after eight hours in the cramped coach. They had stopped only to eat and change the horses; now he was forced to spend the night in some revolting, bug-infested tavern, undoubtedly run by villainous riff raff.
Automatically, he offered his hand to help a middle-aged lady alight. A good night’s sleep would help. The voyage out from England had been nothing short of a bloody nightmare. Still, it did have a few lighter moments, including a troupe of eight painted, but pretty chorus girls who had kept him entertained.
“This way.” The driver took charge of the lady’s bag, leaving Marcus to pick up his own.
The roadside tavern looked anything but impressive, although the light spilling out on to the verandah offered some reassurance. A large, fat fellow in grubby pants met them at the door, and Marcus shuddered with distaste. Fastidious in his own habits, if this oaf’s appearance was anything to go by, he teetered on the brink of a hideous nightmare. Their driver, having dumped them like pieces of flotsam, disappeared without a word. Not even bothering to hide his disdain, Marcus stepped warily across the threshold.
Bare wooden floors had been swept clean. The interior walls appeared to be made from white washed, pit-sawn logs. A number of men lounged at roughly hewn tables with tankards in their hands, and they nodded without much interest. He returned their greeting in a like manner. Another rowdy bunch dressed in dark uniforms caught his eye momentarily.
The innkeeper, following his gaze, lowered his voice conspiratorially. “They’re police reinforcements coming to escort Johnny Dawson from Goulburn to the jail in Sydney.” He lowered his voice still further and leaned closer. His rancid breath blowing in Marcus’ face smelt so nauseating he nearly retched. Thank goodness he had eaten hours ago; otherwise he would surely have lost everything in his stomach. “Rumour has it some of his friends are planning an escape.”
Marcus stepped back a pace. “Oh?” His eyes flicked towards the group again. Shrugging his indifference, he started to move away.
His smelly tormentor tenaciously followed him, obviously loathe to lose his captive audience. “You’ve heard of Johnny Dawson?”
“No, my good man, I have not.”
“He’s a bushranger. Been running wild for a couple of years now, treats the troopers with scorn. Usually operates a bit further north, though.” The innkeeper scratched at his head. Marcus winced. Dear God, surely the oaf wasn’t lousy?
“You don’t say. My room, if you please. I’m in need of a wash, food and bed, in that order.”
“The setting is Australia. Marcus Lindquist was forced to leave London, where he was falsely accused of rape. Georgina and cohorts were attempting to free Johnny Dawson from troopers. He was accused of being a bushranger. Georgina lured the troopers away, risking her own life. She took refuge at the inn. Marcus was surprised to find a young woman hiding in his room. She sensed he would not harm her.
Margaret Tanner is a talented author. Stolen Birthright’s plot is spell-binding. She cleverly demonstrates what life was like during the Colonial Days of Australia. George and Marcus are delightful characters. Fans of romance will enjoy Stolen Birthright.” 4 Stars!
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com
5 out of 5 Books! “Action, danger, and strong emotions set Stolen Birthright in motion and continue throughout the novel. Margaret Tanner gives us a glimpse of the social disparities during the years after convicts from England were transported to Australia. The thread of mystery about Johnny Dawson’s secret is like a carrot-on-a-stick as the story unfolds while the many secondary characters add enthralling subplots. But, most of all the story pulses with the love that grows as Marcus and Georgina struggle to bridge the wide chasm between a child of an ex-convict and a lord of the English aristocracy. I didn’t want the story to end. I hope a sequel is in the making. Superb reading!” – Camellia, The Long And Short Of It Reviews
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 212
Paper Weight (lb): 9.0
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