Thursday, June 20, 2013
A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of meeting Brisbane author Josephine De Moor when she came to the island and signed copies of her new book “Heart of a Beast” which is set on Norfolk Island during the Second Settlement. Josephine’s book brings the best that historical romance has to offer as while it is a gripping tale of jealousy, love and revenge it never compromises on historical accuracy. The name of the book was inspired by a quote from convict Robert Douglas, said to be one of the ring leaders of the 1834 mutiny on Norfolk: “Let a man’s heart be what it will when he comes here, his Man’s heart is taken from him, and he is given the heart of a Beast”.
There are so many aspects to Norfolk Island that spark creativity amongst artists and writers - whether it be the beauty of the island, the power of the stories of our history, the remnants of stone buildings, or hearing a conversation spoken in Norf’k amongst locals. Through her numerous visits to Norfolk Josephine has clearly been inspired by our history and captivated in particular with the brutal Second Settlement. Australian fiction with its convict past has been an all consuming passion for her since early childhood leading to volunteering at the Queensland Genealogical Society and thus helping many families discover their origins. Now the ruins of Kingston have inspired Josephine to find her own characters and give them life through her fabulous book.
The story is a sweeping romance and will especially appeal to those who enjoy the combination of historical fact with the fiction of a great love story. The book’s back cover gives the best description of the story line: “In 1847 the love for a woman and a debt of honour threatens to destroy two men in the harsh penal colony of Norfolk Island. Driven by intense jealousy and guilt, Lieutenant Edmund Thornton sets out to destroy convicted felon, Michael Hanlon, both of whom share a love for Sarah Henshall. Her unexpected arrival on the island sets into motion a series of tragic events”.
Josephine signed books at No. 10 Quality Row which was very apt as this is where much of the action of her novel takes place. Many visitors and locals really enjoyed meeting Josie whose warm and friendly personality meant many good conversations were had. For visitors and locals alike, this is a book that will inspire a new feeling when walking through Kingston and around the island, bringing part of our darkest convict history to life. How lovely to be able to have your own copy personally signed by the author! There are still some signed copies available for purchase at the Pier Store Museum.