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Dark Southern Sun: Love, Friendship, and…
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Dark Southern Sun: Love, Friendship, and Honor in the Goldfields of Old…

by Shaun J. McLaughlin

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After his pardon in 1845, Ryan built a boat and began rowing to leave the penal colony on the island called Van Diemen’s Land. A storm nearly killed him. Two aboriginal children found him washed up on the Australian shore. Weeyn was thirteen and his sister, Alinga was nine. Their mother, Mokborree, nurses Ryan back to health, and their father Laarre befriends him. They are of the Wadawurrung clan. Oddly enough, Alinga forms a girlish crush on Ryan that only grows stronger over the next ten years. Ryan left their clan but went back each winter to visit his friends.

On the mainland, Ryan meets and begins seeing Ellen O’Sullivan. As he gets to know her, he wants to marry her and raise a family, but technically she is already married. Of the last five years, she hadn’t seen her husband for the last four. While she presumes she may be a widow, she will not recommit herself to another until she knows for sure. Upon each visit to Laarre, his interest in Alinga grows and she makes no bones about letting him know she wants to secure him as her husband. At one time, Alinga had been betrothed to Loklok of another Aborigine tribe. Laarre breaks the betrothal because of Loklok’s violence toward women, but not before Loklok challenges Ryan to a fight to the death.

This is a very true to life story showing the historical struggles and the primitive means of the Aborigines and the Australian outback. I liked the characters and especially enjoyed seeing Weeyn and Alinga grow and mature. Until I went to write this review, I’d not realized that this was the second in a series. Evidently, the first, Counter Currents, tells of Ryan and his adventures in the Patriot War and how he was penalized on Van Diemen’s Land. Dark Southern Sun can be read as a standalone. This is listed as Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense, but I found it read more like Literary Fiction spanning the years from 1845 to 1855. At the end of the book, the author provides historical notes and a glossary of Wadawurrung words used in this story. Rating: 4 out of 5. ( )
  FictionZeal | May 7, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 098790356X, Paperback)

Ryan washes up on the southern shore of Australia near death in 1845. Rescued by two Wathaurung native children and nursed to health by their parents, his life and theirs are entwined through good and sorrow for the next ten years. Set against the historical backdrop of Australia’s formative years, Ryan witnesses the displacement of the Aboriginal people. He faces the chaos of the world’s largest alluvial gold rush and the bloodshed of Australia’s only armed uprising. Throughout, two very different women—one white, one black—tug at his heart as he struggles from penury to prosperity. As he rises in social esteem as an astute businessman and cunning streetfighter, Ryan creates two bitter enemies—one white, one black. In time, they set aside their vast racial and emotional hatreds and combine forces. Can Ryan survive their vicious attempt to destroy him and save the good life he has built?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 31 Aug 2015 09:18:30 -0400)

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