Welcome to our Historical Fiction collection, where you'll find spectacular titles by Australian authors ready to take you back in time for wonderful adventures...
"What a cracker of a debut! A beautiful story of family and orchards, of secrets and love and forgiveness." - Victoria Purman, author of The Women's Pages.
The fire took everything - except two women's fighting spirits. A sweeping, big-hearted Australian family saga for readers of Judy Nunn and Victoria Purman.
"The crisp prose sparkles and the characters stay with you long after the story ends." - Lauren Chater, author of Gulliver's Wife.
Olga Kameneva, feminist and head of the Russian Theatre in post-revolutionary Russia, lived through the heady days of that time.
As the wife of one of Stalin's inner circle and sister of Leon Trotsky, she was on shaky ground when Stalin targeted both as political enemies, and she herself was soon consigned by Stalin to the 'dustbin of history'. In The Impossible History of Trotsky's Sister, she is given another, imagined life in post-World War Two Australia, as a displaced person amidst the tea and lamingtons of the Melbourne suburbs.
The Cold War and the 'Red Scare' mean Olga has to hide her identity and past, until history comes knocking on her door. A young woman who is desperate to escape Australian social mores, and an explosive, revolutionary play, press Olga and her ghosts into the struggle again. Olga draws on her revolutionary past, and a whole cast of Old Bolsheviks, Russian feminists, poets, playwrights and painters, to craft her own narrative.
This time, is history on her side?
1916, the Western Front.
There are some crimes that transcend the horrors of war, and the rumour of a soldier being found in no man’s land crucified to a church door threatens to cause a mutiny in the trenches.
To placate the troops, allied HQ orders four soldiers pulled from the ranks of each army to investigate the crime and bring the perpetrator swiftly to justice. What a Canadian ex-Mountie, an Australian beat cop, a constable from Scotland Yard, and their military intelligence commander discover will not only save the lives of the comrades, but may well save the entire war.
Full of factual events and historic occurrences, Golgotha looks into one of the darkest events to occur during the First World War.
Monsieur Maurice is the natty manager of Le Prix d’Amour, one of the most successful cabarets in 1930s Paris.
Like its compatriots, the Moulin Rouge and the Folies Bergère, its sparkling showgirls and vibrant performers ensure that Le Prix has a devoted following and that Monsieur Le Prix’s Owner is a very rich man.
But the winds of war blow through the gilded doors of Le Prix and, with the German invasion of 1940, Monsieur Maurice realises that he has a problem.
He discovers that a number of his performers hide dark secrets that would almost certainly see the entire company tossed into a Gestapo cell...
Lament is a rollicking ride - a historical fiction, re-imagining of the Kelly story if the siege at Glenrowan had gone differently.
In June 1880, the reign of the Kelly Gang ended - guns blazing - in a fiery siege at the Glenrowan Inn. Ned Kelly survived, only to be hanged four months later. In this re-imagining of Australia's most notorious bushranger, Ned is given the chance to keep his band of brothers together and build a better life. What unfolds is the human side of four outlaws who are remembered as much for their anarchy and rebellion as their crimes.
Ned Kelly. The life that might have been. The future he dreamed of. Such is life.
Escaping from a failed relationship, Kathleen Devine flees to an isolated lighthouse off the Victorian coastline.
A beautiful exploration of what happens when people are thrown together on an isolated lighthouse and must learn to rely on each other in the wake of a terrible tragedy.
An Australian gothic tale of redemption told by a master storyteller.
As the first full-length novel in The White Sails Series, DISCERNING GRACE captures the spirit of an independent woman whose feminine lens blows the ordered patriarchal decks of a 19th century tall ship to smithereens.
Wilful Grace Baxter, will not marry old Lord Silverton with his salivary incontinence and dead-mouse stink. Discovering she is a pawn in an arrangement between slobbery Silverton and her calculating father, Grace is devastated when Silverton reveals his true callous nature.
Refusing this fate, Grace resolves to stow away. Heading to the docks, disguised as a lad to ease her escape, she encounters smooth-talking naval recruiter, Gilly, who lures her aboard HMS Discerning with promises of freedom and exploration in South America.
DISCERNING GRACE is historical women's fiction that will appeal to fans of Claire Fraser from Outlander and Demelza Poldark from Poldark—in other words, fans of feisty historical female leads.
Raine didn’t plan to marry Teddy.
His moods turn on a hairpin, he’s hot-headed and easily offended. But he’s the father of her unborn child, and in 1950s Australia being an unwed mother isn’t an option.
Raine believes it just might work, that the troubles and tragedies of the past two years are behind her. Then Teddy abandons her.
Teddy’s childhood mate, Alf, wavers between indignation and hope. Is this his chance? Or do old loyalties run too deep?
A hurting Raine determines to track Teddy down. When she finds him – if she finds him – she’ll understand at last who her true ‘keeper’ is.
January 1915 Harry Fletcher is a confident young man, sure that he will marry Nora, no matter what their families say.
He will always protect Eddie, the boy his father saved from the gutters of Port Adelaide. Only the War to End All Wars might get in the way of Harry’s plans…
From the beaches of Semaphore to the shores of Gallipoli, the mud of Flanders to the red dust of inland South Australia, this is a story of love, brotherhood, and resilience.
A time of upheaval for the people of the Summer Land - the Saxons push further westward, a new religion supplants the old, unexpected alliances are formed and deadly rivalries fester - son against father, brother against brother.
Eleri Gwir, the daughter of a chieftain, speaks only the truth – and one thing she knows is that war is coming and that a reckoning awaits her people. The Red Cloaks of Caer Baddan, the last remnant of the Roman legions on British soil, represent hope for Eleri and for all the Summer Land.
And their leader Macsen represents something else for Eleri herself... new possibilities, new horizons to explore.
As the decisive battle between the Britons and the Saxons draws near, Eleri and her people must decide what their role will be in this story.
In the steppes of High Asia, the year 1188…
Jamuqa rode his trophy mare, off-white, black-pointed, on a Tartar seat, high arches of ornamental silver fore and aft. He wore a winterfur of snow leopard, near white with black whorls. The effect was kingly and fantastic: he might be Irle Khan himself, the king of ghosts, in his eerie splendour.
The steppe has been without a great khan for three hundred years – fragmented in the face of giant China. Are dreams and omens enough to unify its peoples? What makes a true king?
So, the lovers begin...
Passions flare and alliances shift in this breathtaking story of survival set during the final days of World War II in Hungary.
Young Zeno dreams of moving to Budapest and becoming a great filmmaker in the Hungarian film studios. But one evening he follows Catherine Steiner, a guest at the exclusive lakeside resort where he works as a bellboy, into the forest. Unknowingly he dives into her life, changing his forever.
Her husband is a wealthy industrialist with the power to create – or crush – Zeno. Despite Catherine’s protests, Zeno moves to Budapest and takes a servant’s job in the Steiner house, shining her husband’s shoes while hearing the family’s secrets.
All Zeno and Catherine have are precious hours in a secret apartment, tucked above the uneasy streets of a city at war, their affair a flimsy wall against a future no one can see or predict. Until it arrives.
Wild Chicory is a novella that takes the reader on an immigrant journey from Ireland to Australia in the early 1900s, along threads of love, family, war and peace.
It’s a slice of ordinary life rich in history, folklore and fairy tale, and a portrait of the precious relationship between a granddaughter, Brigid, and her grandmother, Nell.
From the windswept, emerald coast of County Kerry, to the slums of Sydney’s Surry Hills; and from the bitter sectarian violence of Ulster, to tranquillity of rural New South Wales, Brigid weaves her grandmother’s tales into a small but beautiful epic of romance and tragedy, of laughter and the cold reality of loss. It’s Nell’s tales, tall and true, that spur Brigid to write her own, too.
Ultimately, it’s a story of finding your feet in a new land – be that a new country, or a new emotional space – and the wonderful trove of narrative we carry with us wherever we might go.
'Why can't more people write like this?' The Age
1881 - London.
A series of murders around Whitechapel have two very old friends investigating the deaths. Soon they're joined by Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker - and all end up fighting for their survival as an ancient horror rises and threatens to destroy the world.
Book one in a brand new series out now!
It was not intended that Conrad being second born son would inherit the crown of Bavaria, but fate has a way of changing things.
His father was already having trouble with the Prussians trying to take his Crown and unite Germany under one King. This is a story of two Kings, the Father then the Son and their struggle through life to maintain their hold on the shakey crown of Bavaria in an ever changing world.
Conrad knows being the second born son that the throne is not meant for him, but he is told by an old woman that one day the throne will be his and he will become...
Two sisters, Amelia and Simona Lillostra, share a secret. One so distressing to them it is never to be revealed.
What they didn’t count on is a young Russian man entering their lives, a man related to Amelia’s Russian lover from WWII. When TV anchor, Larissa Mina meets Alexey Dubrovsky at an awards night, neither has any idea there is a secret in both of their pasts.
What is this dark family secret and why were two loving sisters torn apart?
In the steppes of High Asia, the year 1166…
‘What is a Mongol? – As free as the geese in the air, as in unison. The flights of the geese promise us we don’t give up independence, to unite.’
The hundred tribes of the Mongols have come together with one aim, to push back against the walls that have crept onto the steppe – farther than China has ever extended its walls before. Walls are repugnant to a nomad. But can people on horses push them down, even with a united effort?
This story begins when nobody has heard of Mongols – not even most Chinese, who think the vast Northern Waste at its weakest and are right. A spectacular history starts obscurely… Against Walls is the first in a trilogy that gives voice to the Mongols in their explosive encounter with the great world under Tchingis Khan.
Both epic and intimate, Amgalant sees the world through Mongol eyes. It’s different from the world you know.
Suddenly left as the head of the family, Kitty McKenzie must find her inner strength to keep her family together against the odds.
Evicted from their resplendent home in the fashionable part of York after her parents’ deaths, Kitty must fight the legacy of bankruptcy and homelessness to secure a home for her and her siblings.
Through sheer willpower and determination she grabs opportunities with both hands from working on a clothes and rag stall in the market to creating a teashop for the wealthy.
After losing everything, can she keep her family safe?
Kitty McKenzie's path has taken her from the slums of York to the inhospitable bush of colonial Australia.
Yet, when she believes her dreams will never be attained, she is shown that sometimes life can be even better than what you wish for.
Kitty McKenzie is gifted land in the far north of New South Wales. Life at the northern property is full of hardships as she learns how to become a successful landowner.
However, Kitty’s strength of will and belief in herself gives her the courage most women of her time never realize they have.
Four-and-twenty extraordinary women - one chance to save a kingdom. What would you sacrifice to save your family, your loved ones, yourself?
In September 1486, the reign of King Henry VII of England is again threatened by York loyalists. The only thing standing in the way is a four-hundred-year-old sidhe who just wants to be left alone, and a group of London women with a lot to lose if England is plunged back into war.
But, in 1486, women have no power. Only the ability to make difficult choices and sometimes-heartbreaking sacrifices.
Become immersed in the fascinating, perilous lives of these women, as told through the medium of 25 interwoven short stories. much.
How far will a woman go to understand?
At dawn on the outskirts of Paris in 1869, Hortense Kinck lies buried alive and surrounded by five of her children. Violently attacked, tormented and trapped, she sifts through the truths and deceits of her marriage to self-made industrialist, Jean Kinck.
Why had he lied?
France, snug in the prosperity of Napoleon III’s Second Empire, is shocked by the vicious destruction of the bourgeois Kinck family. Under pressure from his superiors, the Chief of Police, Monsieur Claude, must unravel the baffling connections between the family and a mysterious young man, Jean-Baptiste Troppmann, a cold case, a famous palmist and France’s rising tide of dissatisfaction with the Emperor Napoleon III.
The Cast of a Hand is an unforgettable love story and a murder mystery based on one of the most shocking crimes of 19th century Paris. GS Johnston’s razor sharp prose interweaves and cross-pollinates the two narratives, both desperately trying to arrive at the truth.
It’s 1914 and the coal town of Lithgow is booming. Daniel Ackerman is a serious young man, a miner, a socialist and German; Francine Connolly is the bourgeois, Irish-Catholic, too-good-for-this-place daughter of one of the mine owners.
When a tragic accident forces them together, this class-crossed pair fall in love despite themselves. Before the signatures on their marriage certificate are dry, though, war erupts, and a much more terrifying obstacle confronts them.
Against his principles but driven by a sense of solidarity, Daniel enlists; Francine, horrified, has no choice but to watch him go. Thrown into a daunting new world of separation and grief, they learn things about each other they might never have known in more certain times – hard lessons about heroism, sacrifice, and the thin line between bravery and stupidity.
Told with freshness, verve and wit, Black Diamonds is the tale of a fierce young nation, Australia, and two fierce hearts who dare to discover what courage really means.
‘This is the story of a love greatly tested and of the resilience of ordinary Australians sucked into a pointless war by propaganda. It’s enough to turn you into a war protester.’ – Australian Women’s Weekly
On the cusp of summer 1939, another war has begun in Europe.
Bernie Cooper is wondering what might be in it for her; she’s looking for adventure, some way to stretch her wings. The boy next door, Gordon Brock, is wondering if Bernie will marry him – before he heads off on his own adventure, his first job as a geologist with an oil company in New Guinea.
But the war has plans for them both neither could have imagined in their wildest nightmares. As Gordon braces for the Japanese invasion of Rabaul, Bernie finally finds her purpose in the midst of the battle being fought on home soil – against the worst drought in living memory, the menace of an unseen enemy, and the torment of not knowing if those dear to her are alive or dead.
From the beaches of Sydney to the dusty heart of the continent, This Red Earth is a love letter to Australia, with all its beauty and terror, and a tale of telling the truth – before it’s too late.
‘Kim Kelly seems to understand the sounds and scents of the country … The strength of This Red Earth is that it reads as authentic in terms of the times in which it is set. Yet it does not succumb to saccharine nostalgia and feels like you are looking through a wide and clear window back to the 40s.’ Helen Crompton, The West Australian
Broke and hopeless in 1929, Yo O’Keenan flees the violence of his home in Chippendale, and by some miracle charms his way into a job on the Harbour Bridge, a new start for himself and his little sister, Agnes.
Meanwhile, on the north side of Sydney, in her cluttered cottage at Lavender Bay, a young and ambitious costumier, Olivia Greene, works on her latest millinery creations, dreaming of taking her colours to Paris, London, New York.
A random encounter in the Botanic Gardens sparks a powerful attraction, even as the gulf between this pair seems wider than the blue mile of harbour that divides the city. By mid-1932, the construction of the Bridge is complete, but Sydney is in chaos, on the brink of civil war, as the Great Depression begins to bite – hard.
And then Yo disappears.
Against the glittering backdrop of Sydney Harbour, The Blue Mile tells of the cruelties of poverty, the wild gamble a city took to build a wonder of the world, and the risks the truly brave will take for a chance at life and love.
‘Kelly’s evocation of 1930s Sydney has a marvellous depth and authenticity based on some impressive research, and her characters, plot and fluid prose draw the reader into this world.’ Daily Telegraph. Troy Lennon, history editor.
At Christmas, 1900, university student Berylda Jones is heading home from Sydney to Bathurst, and with customary reluctance, for ‘home’ is where she and her sister Greta live in quiet terror, under the control of their sadistic Uncle Alec.
Berylda has a plan this time, though, to free herself and Greta from Alec for good – if she can only find the courage to execute it. On New Year’s Eve, that plan begins to take fire. Just as Alec tightens his grip on the sisters, a stranger arrives at their gate – Ben Wilberry, a botanist in search of a particular native wildflower, with his friend, the artist Cosmo Thompson. So begins a journey that will take them all deep into the rugged wilderness of the old gold rush country of Hill End in search of a means to cure an unspeakable evil.
Set at the dawn of Federation and the coming of the Women’s Vote, Paper Daisies is an Australian gothic tale of murder and misogyny. A story of one woman’s determination to see justice done, and the man who clears her path.
‘One of the most powerful books I’ve read in years’ – Virginia Haussegger, AM, journalist, feminist academic.
The whole of the harbour was touched with gold – the tops of the quiet waves, warehouse roofs, the bulging folds of sails at rest, the tips of seagull wings – giving him one sweeping glimpse of beauty just as he was leaving, a vision of things as they ought always to be just as they were not…
March, 1912. A sultry Indian summer hangs over the west coast of Australia and aboard the luxury steamship SS Koombana, three tales entwine. Irene Everley longs to leave her first-class fishbowl existence, secretly penning a gossip column as her life spirals out of control into soulless liaisons and alcohol, the long shadow of a tragedy clouding her view.
Abraham Davis, a wealthy dealer whose scandalous divorce is being dragged through the press, prepares to take the gamble of his life: to purchase an infamous, stolen pearl along the journey north. Perfectly round, perfectly pink, this pearl comes with a curse and with a warning – destroying all who keep it from returning to the sea.
'Colourful, evocative and energetic' - Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum pick of the week
It’s 1868 and the gold rush is sprawling across the wild west of New South Wales, bringing with it a new breed of colonial rogue – bushrangers.
A world far removed from hardworking farm girl, Annie Bird, and her sleepy village on the outskirts of Sydney. But when a cruel stroke of fortune sees Annie orphaned and outcast, she is forced to head for the goldfields in search of her grandfather, a legendary tracker.
Determined and dangerously naive, she sets off with little but a swag full of hope – and is promptly robbed of it on the road. Her cries for help attract another sort of rogue: Jem Fox, the waster son of a wealthy silversmith, who’s already in trouble with the law – up to his neatly trimmed eyebrows in gambling debts. And now he does something much worse. He ‘borrows’ a horse and rides after the thieves, throwing Annie over the saddle as he goes.
What follows is a breakneck gallop through the Australian bush, a tale of mistaken identity and blind bigotry, of two headstrong opposites tossed together by fate, their lives entwined by a quest to get back home – and the irresistible forces of love.
A tale of longing, loss and growing love under the bright Australian sun.
It’s 1921 and the Great War has left in its wake untold tragedy, not only in lives lost, but in the guilt of survivors, the deep-set scars of old wounds and the sting of redoubled bigotries. In the tiny hamlet of Sunshine, on the far-flung desert’s edge, three very different ex-servicemen – Jack Bell, an Aboriginal horseman; Snow McGlynn, a laconic, curmudgeonly farmer; and Art Lovelee, an eccentric engineer – find themselves sharing a finger of farmland along the Darling River, and not much else. That is, until Art’s wife Grace, a battle-hardened nurse, gets to work on them all with her no-nonsense wisdom.
Told with Kim Kelly’s inimitable wit and warmth, Sunshine is a very Australian tale of home, hope and healing, of the power of growing life and love, and discovering that we are each other’s greatest gifts.
'Shining from this deeply moving story of battle-scarred lives is the beauty of the land and the courage, resilience and generosity of ordinary people. Sunshine is a wonderful story: alive, full-hearted and shimmering with hope.' - Belinda Castles, award-winning author of Bluebottle
Rome 100AD, Lucius Barca a 13yo boy and his three best friends are inseparable and live within a stones throw of greatest city in empire - Rome.
One fateful night, Lucius’ and his friends world is turned upside down when he stumbles upon the empires most famous gladiator - wounded and near death. Lucius saves the gladiator and takes him home knowing it could mean certain death to him and his family.
Lucius and his friends make a pact to protect the gladiator and keep him hidden from the authorities. Lucius and friends, with help of the gladiator, unravel a sinister plot within the royal palace to overthrow the emperor and change the course of history.
Can Lucius and his friends discover who is responsible for the sinister plot? Lucius and friends risk their lives to break into the emperor’s palace and save the emperor and his daughter.
"LostRalia" is an epic poem that takes place in the continent of Ralia (Australia) in an anachronistic medieval setting.
The Crown Prince Cavaliere wishes to marry the Lady Adelade, but his plans are thwarted by the Dark Lord Purth who schemes to use her to lure Cavaliere to the west to meld two mysterious shields and bring about eternal chaos. With the aid of the Grand Duke Orlbry, Cavaliere and Sir Sedny upset Purth's plans and establish a kingdom of love and true liberty.
"LostRalia" was originally a hand-written work that this author had finished in 1986.
From Cornwall to an untamed South Australia...
Based on the true story of the Bryar family, who left their homeland in search of a better life. Richard and his son Thomas secure free passage to South Australia, where they dream of a new beginning working in the copper mine of Burra.
A novel of love, war and kindness, inspired by a true story of medical genius and betrayal.
Sydney, 1948. Brilliant German surgeon, Hugo Winter, is dead, and his protégé, Lucy Brynne, is tasked with sorting his papers. Among them, Lucy finds glimpses of Hugo’s past that paint a disturbing picture of war and prejudice – a portrait of Australia she can barely recognise.
That same week, an intriguing patient comes into her care on the orthopaedic ward at Sydney Hospital: one Mr Jim Cleary. Lucy’s experience as an army physiotherapist, as well as her own very personal knowledge of pain, tell her there’s more to this man’s fractured leg than meets the eye. As she pieces together who Jim Cleary really is and the truth behind his injury, she not only falls for his laconic charm, but discovers the rival surgeon who relentlessly persecuted Hugo – a man who will shatter Jim’s life completely now, unless Lucy can stop him.
Inspired by a true story of medical genius and betrayal, Walking is a crisply told tale of bigotry and obsession, love and devastation, one that charts the path of a young woman finding her feet in the world, and the transformative power of kindness that drives her own ambition.