Shaw (Where the Willows Weep) delivers yet another absorbing romance/adventure yarn set in 19th-century Australia, complete with exotic locales, sexual intrigue and social tensions brought on by changing mores. When Englishman Corby Morgan determines to buy a Queensland sugar plantation, he and his quietly intelligent wife, Jessie, must turn to Jessie's father, known as ``the Professor,'' and his flirtatious daughter, Sylvia, to close the deal. The foursome sets off to their new life on the plantation-managed by the dashing Mike Devlin-where reality, alternately harsh and pleasant, sets in. Meanwhile, counterpoint passages tell of the indentured South Sea islanders who labor on the region's plantations, particularly of one Talua, aka Joseph, son of a chief and considered by his fellow islanders to be a god. Back at the plantation, manipulative Sylvia has a mad affair with Corby during Jessie's advanced pregnancy, while further complications-criminal, financial and romantic-ensue. Heaping on the melodrama, and weaving in Talua/Joseph's troubles as the thread that binds the historico-political background to the plot, Shaw keeps the reader's interest high. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/1995 Release date: 11/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
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