It is the mid to late 1860’s.
William Sutherland is an English gentleman of means. In London he lives a somewhat idle life where his boredom is punctuated by parties and a stormy relationship with Jessica Windsor. When Jessica’s family move to Van Dieman’s Land William’s life is thrown into turmoil. He writes constantly to ‘My Dearest Jessica’ and when at last he receives a return letter he rushes to the end of the earth to ask her hand in marriage only to find that she has just announced her engagement to Thomas Pickering.
Unable to admit to his family and peers in London that he has been turned down by Jessica in favour of another man he applies for a post as Assistant Head Lighthouse Keeper on remote Governor King’s Island in Bass’s Strait. On Governor King’s Island life is less than perfect. For William it is a cultural shock as his life twists and turns both from coming to grips with his surroundings and his work colleagues: and, romantically as he blunders his way through his tenure on the island and his relationship with the other inhabitants.
I don’t want to give the story line away so let me just say this is a pretty exciting story with a huge climax…
If you love Thomas Keneally, Judy Nunn or a host of other Australian writers you will love this book.