On this day: A Policeman as a Bushranger

PolicemanWearingKellyArmourPhotograph taken on 5 July 1880 of a policeman equipped with Byrne's helmet and Ned Kelly's rifle and skull cap. Bushranger.

5th July 1880: one week after the Kelly Gang siege at Glenrowan, an Australian policeman poses with the equipment of two of the bushrangers (highwaymen) killed. The helmet belonged to Joe Byrne, and the rifle and skullcap belonged to gang leader Ned Kelly.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

The Glenrowan siege came at the end of the bushranger era, as improved communication technology and the arrival of the railway made it harder for bushrangers to operate. My book The Landowner’s Secret takes place around this time.

On this day: a Victorian School Opens

Harby_Primary_School_1895 The village school and pupils 1895 Leicestershire England Victorian Era Christian

Pupils of the school photographed in 1895.

The Church of England Primary School in the village of Harby in Leicestershire, England opened on the 25th of March, 1861.

Part of the National Society for Promoting Religious Education, an organisation formed to promote education in England and Wales before the government began to regulate the school system, the building was constructed in 1860. It had two classrooms, and living accommodations for the teacher.

$0.99 Sale!

Readers in the United States: The Landowner’s Secret, the first book in my Brindabella Secrets series, is on sale for $0.99 until the 29th of March!

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

When Australian women were accidentally given the vote.

Reviving an old post, because I like the story!

Australian Suffragettes

Australian suffragettes in London in 1911

In the nineteenth century, in the colony of Victoria in Australia, the Electoral Act 1863 was passed. According to the act, “all persons” who owned property were entitled to vote. Though it was not intended to include women in this, there were plenty in the state who did, indeed own property.

In the 1864 elections, some women took advantage of this error and went to the polling stations, where their votes were recorded:

The Argus , 5 November 1864, p 4. When women in Australia accidentally got the vote.

“At one of the polling booths in the Castlemaine district a novel sight was witnessed. A coach filled with ladies drove up, and the fair occupants alighted and recorded their votes.”
The Argus , 5 November 1864, p 4.

The oversight was quickly fixed, and a new law in 1865 once again took voting rights away from women. However, Australia was very early in granting women full voting rights, in 1902.

One Year!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

The Landowner’s Secret turns one today! Here’s some information about my first book with Harlequin Australia/Escape:

The Landowner’s Secret

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Read the first two chapters.

HarperCollins AU US UK

Amazon AU US UK CA IN

On this day: A Bushranger in Glenrowan

For a fairly morbid post: here is an image of a member of Australian bushranger (highwayman) Ned Kelly’s gang being photographed on the 29th of June, 1880.

This is Joe Byrne, who was killed the day before in the infamous siege in Glenrowan, in the colony of Victoria.

Source: the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.

Byrne_480w Joe Byrne’s body being photographed after the siege at Glenrowan, 29 June 1880. Ned Kelly Australian Bushranger.

The image is recognised as the first press photograph in Australian history.

Byrne was twenty-three when he died.

Joseph Byrne 21 November 1856–28 June 1880 was an Australian bushranger born in Victoria to an Irish immigrant. A friend of Ned Kelly he was a member of the Kelly Gang who were declared outlaws the murder of three police

Bushrangers terrorised the Australian colonies for much of the nineteenth century, but Glenrowan was something of a turning point. The improvements in communication technology and the arrival of the railway meant bushrangers found it harder to commit their crimes.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

My book The Landowner’s Secret takes place shortly after these events, and deals with the threat of bushrangers.

Chasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) by Lisa Kleypas

Chasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) by Lisa Kleypas UK Aus Cover

Everything has a price . . .
Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything – or anyone – is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife – and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love – the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her . . .
Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.
When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants – or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.
The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun . . .

Chasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) by Lisa Kleypas

This book was my top recommended read in this piece I wrote for romance.com.au a few weeks ago.

I read Chasing Cassandra when is came out in March, and then read it again (and again). Lisa Kleypas is an author whose books I really love, and she also writes stories set in the Victorian era (my favourite, and also the era my books are set). I love her mix of humour and drama and history, and this was a lovely finish to the series.

Up until now I wasn’t sure how the pairing of Cassandra Ravenel and Tom Severin was ever going to work. Tom, in particular, was such a complicated character, one who is ruthlessly ambitious to the point he’d stab his friends in the back and not understand why that was a bad thing to do.

In the end these two ended up being some of my favourite characters in the series—and one of my favourite pairings. I like that Kleypas chose to not have them constantly locking horns. The way their relationship developed was a surprise—a good one.

And then there’s Bazzle the little street urchin Tom accidentally adopts, starting him off unnecessarily sweeping his office. He was one of the best things about the book!
This has been a fun series. In a time when there’s such a push for historically ambiguous historical romances, Kleypas manages to keep her books entertaining while also taking us to Victorian Britain.

One Year

Today is the one-year anniversary of Harlequin making me an offer for the manuscript that would become The Landowner’s Secret. A lot has happened since then, and in that time I’ve worked on a number of other books. So much has changed in the past twelve months.

thumbnail_landownerssecret

Just in case you’re interested, here’s the book’s information again:

The Landowner’s Secret

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Read the first two chapters.

HarperCollins AU US UK

Amazon AU US UK CA IN

 

 

The Landowner’s Secret for $1.99!

My book, The Landowner’s Secret, is on sale for $1.99 until the 1st of March!

Purchase links HERE:

The Landowner's Secret Sonya Heaney Summer of Love Promotion

Read the first two chapters.

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.