It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

I had intended to just focus on my current read, Beyond the Orchard, last week, but slipped in two quick reads, Night in Eden and Tenant of Chesdene Manor.

Before C.S.Harris introduced Sebastian St. Cyr in her regency mysteries, she wrote historical romances under the pen name of Candice Proctor. Night in Eden was her debut novel, which won various awards on its release. This novel is still set in the regency era, but in colonial Australia. I enjoyed it and now I'm looking forward to reading more of her novels set in Australia.

Tenant of Chesdene Hall is a regency romance from Alice Chetwynd Ley. I've read a few of her regency romances now and liked them. They are a little more serious than those regencies written by Georgette Heyer, but still good entertainment.

My current read is still Beyond the Orchard by Anna Romer. It's taking me a lot longer to get through this book than I'd anticipated due to reading it on my laptop, but I'm hoping to finish it this week.

Up next is Karen Brooks' latest, The Locksmith's Daughter and my selection after that will be from various books I've requested from Net Galley, which include Mackenzie Crossing by Kaye Dobbie and Daughter of the Murray by Darry Fraser, both set in Australia. I also have a very long ebook of 1013 pages, White Spirit by Lance and James Morcan, also set in Australia and based on a true story, that I'm hoping to get to soon.

What I Read Last Week

Night in Eden by Candice Procter

Bryony Wentworth, once a wealthy, privileged English landowner, is convicted of murdering her husband. After being transported to a penal colony in New South Wales while pregnant, Bryony gives birth to her child, then loses it to fever. Captain Hayden St. John collects her from the prison so that she can become a wet nurse for his son. Grief stricken over the loss of his wife, Hayden is bitter and untrusting. Bryony, fearful and angry at her fate, finds much to resent in Hayden, but his child offers her a new will to live. Although Hayden and Bryony fight their attraction, their union is so deeply passionate that it seems nothing can threaten their happiness until Bryony's past comes to haunt her.

Tenant of Chesdene Manor by Alice Chetwynd Ley

Diana Chalfont and her mother were left nearly penniless when gambling-happy Sir Peter Chalfont died. So they resolved to find a tenant to share the neglected Chesdene Manor - and from nowhere came quiet, good-looking Mr. Richmond, about whom no one seemed to know very much at all. But when Diana went to stay in London with her cousins, she met him frequently at parties and balls - so who was he? The answers lay amongst the tombstones in Chesdene churchyard ...

What I'm Reading Today

Beyond the Orchard by Anna Romer

Lucy Briar has arrived home in turmoil after years overseas. She’s met her fiancĂ© in London and has her life mapped out, but something is holding her back.
Hoping to ground herself and find answers, Lucy settles into once familiar routines. But old tortured feelings flood Lucy’s existence when her beloved father, Ron, is hospitalised and Morgan – the man who drove her away all those years ago – seeks her out.
Worse, Ron implores Lucy to visit Bitterwood Estate, the crumbling historic family guesthouse now left to him. He needs Lucy to find something– an old photograph album, the very thing that drove Ron and his father apart.
Lucy has her own painful memories of Bitterwood, darkness that has plagued her dreams since she was young. But as Lucy searches for the album, the house begins to give up its ghosts and she is driven to put them to rest.
And there, held tightly between the house, the orchard and the soaring cliffs, Lucy uncovers a long-hidden secret that shattered a family’s bond and kept a frightened young girl in its thrall ... and Lucy discovers just how fierce the lonely heart can be.

What I Hope To Read Next

The Locksmith's Daughter by Karen Brooks

In a world where no one can be trusted and secrets are currency, one woman stands without fear.
Mallory Bright is the only daughter of London’s master locksmith. For her there is no lock too elaborate, no secret too well kept. Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster and protector of Queen Elizabeth – the last of the Tudor monarchs – and her realm, is quick to realise Mallory’s talent and draws her into his world of intrigue, danger and deception. With her by his side, no scheme in England or abroad is safe from discovery; no plot secure.
But Mallory’s loyalty wavers when she witnesses the execution of three Jesuit priests, a punishment that doesn’t fit their crime. When Mallory discovers the identity of a Catholic spy and a conspiracy that threatens the kingdom, she has to make a choice – between her country and her heart.
Mallory, however, carries her own dark secrets and is about to learn those being kept from her – secrets that could destroy those she loves.
Once Sir Francis’s greatest asset, Mallory is fast becoming his worst threat … and everyone knows there’s only one way Sir Francis deals with those.

Mackenzie Crossing by Kaye Dobbie

An old photograph holds the key to a missing man, a past love and a long-lost mountain village.
A passion for photography draws two stories together across time to Mackenzie Crossing.
Neville ‘Pom’ Darling, is on the hunt for the perfect photograph.
Skye Stewart, is searching for her long lost grandfather.
It’s 1939, and Neville, escaping an unhappy marriage and his memories of the Great War, finds himself in Mackenzie Crossing on the day of the terrible Black Friday bushfires. He meets the beautiful Georgie Mackenzie and in an instant knows that she is the subject he has been looking for. As the heat intensifies, Georgie and Pom begin to wonder if they have a future together; but first, they must survive the blaze.
Almost sixty years later, Sky Stewart returns to the area in search of her grandfather. Did he survive the Black Friday bushfires? Who is the exotic woman in the photograph she found? But when she arrives in Elysian, the closest town to where Mackenzie Crossing used to be, she finds more of her hidden past than she bargained for. A more recent past which she would prefer stayed forgotten…

Daughter of the Murray by Darry Fraser

1890s, River Murray, Northern Victoria
Georgina Calthorpe is unhappy living with her indifferent foster family the MacHenry’s in their crumbling house on the banks of the River Murray.
Unlike the rest of the family, she isn’t looking forward to the return of prodigal son Dane. With good reason. Dane MacHenry is furious when on his return he finds his homestead in grave decline. Unaware that his father has been drinking his way through his inheritance, he blames Georgina and Georgina decides she has no option but to leave. Unfortunately she chooses Dane’s horse to flee on, and when Dane learns she has stolen his prized stallion, he gives chase. From this point their fates become intertwined with that of a businessman with a dark secret, Conor Foley, who offers Georgina apparent security: a marriage with status in the emerging nouveau-riche echelons of Melbourne. But none of them could imagine the toll the changing political and social landscape would have on homes, hearts and families. Will Georgina’s path lead her into grave danger and unhappiness, or will she survive and fulfil her destiny?

White Spirit by Lance and James Morcan

Based on the remarkable true story of Irish convict John Graham, WHITE SPIRIT is an epic historical adventure set in 19th Century Australia. After escaping from the notorious Moreton Bay Penal Settlement, Graham finds refuge with the Kabi, a tribe of Aborigines who eventually accept him as one of their own.
Attempts to recapture Graham are orchestrated by a variety of contrasting characters working for the all-pervasive British Empire. They include Moreton Bay's tyrannical, opium-addicted commandant Lord Cheetham, the dashing yet warlike Lieutenant Hogan, native tracker Barega and the penal settlement's captain, Tom Marsden.
Marsden's young daughter Helen, a progressive lady ahead of her time who is both an egalitarian and a feminist, boldly inserts herself into the clash between the Irish convict, her father and Moreton Bay's other iron-fisted rulers. Helen complicates things further when she finds herself in a Pride and Prejudice-style love triangle with men on opposite sides of the conflict.
When Scottish woman Eliza Fraser is found shipwrecked and close to death in Kabi territory, Graham and his legion of pursuers, as well as the Irishman's adopted Aboriginal family, are all forced to navigate a multi-faceted rescue mission. The precarious rendezvous is made all the more dangerous by Helen Marsden's ethically-driven meddling that often outwits the men involved.
WHITE SPIRIT is not only based on arguably the great Australian (true) story, a sweeping tale that encapsulates all the nuances of the southern continent's unique history, it also provides readers with detailed insights into the tribal life of First Australian (Aboriginal) peoples.