Once again prolific Mid North Coast author Annie Seaton has produced a gem for the discerning reader.
Whitsunday Dawn has it all; mystery, intrigue, eco-warriors, romance, bribery, crooked business practices and did I say romance? And it’s all set in the pristine and beautifully described Whitsunday Islands, one of the most precious and well-loved places in Australia.
Olivia Sheridan, daughter of cold and ruthless tycoon Andrew Sheridan of Sheridan Enterprises arrives in the Whitsundays to present a package to the locals to advocate some building and construction developments in the area. Olivia is both tired and frustrated, constantly overlooked in spite of her education and faultless track record, she is ready to question her role in her father’s business empire.
Exhausted from a hectic 24/7 schedule, Olivia is annoyed when she is constantly thrown into contact with handsome local Captain Jay. He seems to wear so many hats, but who is he really? Things come to a head at the presentation and it is the catalyst for Olivia to make some changes in her life.
The book itself is set in two different time frames – the present and the past. It is 1941 and the northern part of Australia is under threat of Japanese invasion. Liliana Ellis and her family live on one of the islands and make a living from fishing and taking in tourists. Handsome but troubled airman Jack Rickard s one of them. Home from boarding school and with a keen interest on the possibilities of war, Liliana and Jack strike up a friendship.
Both time frames serve to create a carefully crafted backdrop to both the past and the present threats to the beautiful Whitsundays. Olivia falls in love with the beauty of the place, wonderfully described by the author who is scrupulous in her research of ‘time and place’ in all of her novels. Current threats to the environment are woven into the tale, along with deeply personal journeys from the point of view of both of the main characters, Olivia and Liliana.
Excitement, danger and the nefarious dealings of a multinational corporation with off-shore interests creates an immediacy of tension and danger throughout the book. Carefully paced to keep the reader interested page by page, Annie Seaton successfully also creates a historic atmosphere which perfectly encapsulates a perilous but often forgotten time in Australia’s history. Yet Australia is also currently under threat environmentally, and as in all of her novels, Annie brings to the reader’s attention the relentless efforts of a greedy but powerful minority whose focus is on short-term wealth at the cost of long-term environmental destruction.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is timely, well paced and beautifully written. Annie Seaton’s descriptions of the beautiful Whitsundays have also whetted my appetite to visit this glorious part of our country. Whitsunday Dawn. Another wonderful read from yet another wonderful female Australian writer. Highly recommended by me.
Whitsunday Dawn, by Annie Seaton, is available in digital or printed formats from the publisher HQ Fiction.