This is the third book in The Traders (a five part series), and although Bram and his family are still in focus, the main heroine is his young aunt. Maura is only two years older than Bram and has no intention whatsoever of going to Australia.
The hardback was published in October 2012, and the paperback will be published in March 2013.
Bram Deagan dreams of bringing his family from Ireland to join him in Australia, where he now runs a successful trading business. But when a typhus epidemic strikes Ireland, it leaves the Deagan family decimated. And, with other members of the family scattered round the world, there is only Maura Deagain left to look after her orphaned nieces and nephew.
Forced to abandon her own ambitions, and unsure whether she is ready to become a mother figure to three young children, Maura recognises that their only hope is to join Bram in far-away Australia. So they set sail on the SS Delta, which will carry them there, via the newly opened Suez Canal.
It is only when a storm throws her and fellow passenger Hugh Beaufort together that Maura realises this journey may also give her a chance to realise a dream she set aside years ago – to have a family of her own. That is, until someone from Hugh’s past threatens to jeopardise everything.
I've been waiting ten years to include the opening of the Suez Canal in a story, and here at last was my chance. I researched everything carefully, consulted my ships/sailing guru, Eric Hare.
And I grew very puzzled. I couldn't find any definite information about the part played by the SS Delta in the opening of the Suez Canal, when a flotilla of about forty ships, led by the Empress Eugenie of France's ship, were the first to sail officially through the canal.
Eric joined me in a search for information and the most likely explanation was that the SS Delta turned back after it had joined the flotilla as far as the Bitter Lakes. Certainly the P&O Company didn't believe the canal would be successful. They had already built up a system, which included a railway across the isthmus from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Suez, company hotels and farms to supply the food. They were so sure their system would prove superior. They were wrong. The Suez Canal was a much easier way for passengers to travel, and the canal is still there today, though it's been widened.
I hope you enjoy taking part in this great event - and then following Maura's story.
You can buy this book from:
The Book Depository (postage free to most places in the world)