Final Weekend of the Sale!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Just a reminder that The Landowner’s Secret is $1.99 in Australia and New Zealand until the end of this weekend.

Kindle Australia

Kobo Australia

Kobo New Zealand

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.

Florence Foster Jenkins

I randomly came across this movie when it was on free to air TV a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. Based on the life of a real person – and I actually looked up the real woman and was happy to see how historically accurate the movie is – Florence Foster Jenkins tells the story of a Gilded Age New York socialite who, near the end of her life, decides she has what it takes to become a famous opera singer.

The problem? She can’t sing to save herself. She becomes infamous rather than famous.

This is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. You laugh and laugh … and then suddenly you’re crying because it really is a tragic story.

Meryl Streep actually trained as an opera singer (something I just learnt), and – much like the character of Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera – in order to sing badly, you first have to learn to sing properly.

The real woman really was an appalling singer, and because she paid to have records of her voice made, you can listen to her even now. She’s even worse than in the movie.

The costumes in this movie are worth your time alone.

Streep was ROBBED of the Oscar for this performance (it went to La La Land that year), and both Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg (who is most famous as a sitcom actor, but who is actually a trained concert pianist) were nominated for Golden Globes for their parts. They’re both brilliant, too.

I’m so glad I stumbled across this.

How not to offend millions of people.

In things I can’t believe I’m typing this morning …

A reminder: the hammer and sickle/the Soviet Union represents evil.

After a “cutesy” episode of Australian Story on the ABC, in which a bunch of Anglo Australians waved a communist flag around and did a “retro kitsch” tribute to Stalinist Russia, in which modern-day Russia was discussed as if it – and Putin memes = cute …

The hammer and sickle flag is illegal in much of the former USSR, right alongside the swastika. It’s illegal because it represents the genocides of the Ukrainian and Kazakh people, the total ethnic cleansing of the native people of Crimea, the deportation of the people of western Ukraine (including everyone in my family’s villages) to Siberian gulags, the deportation of tens of thousands of people from the Baltics, too.

It’s illegal because it represents Russian colonialism and the suppression or elimination of other racial and ethnic groups’ languages and cultures. Because it represents a century of mass murder and horror.

It is now an ideology Putin is using in his invasions of Georgia (which began in 2008, and is ongoing) and Ukraine (started in 2014, and ongoing).

I can’t believe this is something I have to explain, but – to my own horror – Australian author after Australian author shared the story yesterday, all with a comment to the effect of “look at this happy, good news story!”.

To wave that flag around without a care in the world is hurtful and harmful to the non-Russian people of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This is something we just went through with My Kitchen Rules, when they pulled their “cutesy Stalin and Putin” retro communist ad.

Do better, people. There’s no excuse to not know that Soviet Russia was as evil and genocidal as Nazi Germany was.

The Landowner’s Secret is still only $1.99!

Just a reminder that readers in Australia and New Zealand can buy The Landowner’s Secret (Brindabella Secrets book #1) for only $1.99 on Kindle and Kobo (AU/NZ) until the end of the month!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

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.

 

Out Now: The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley

British historian Lucy Worsley does some great TV shows, but she is also the author of historical fiction aimed at young adult readers. I’ve mentioned one of her books before, but this one, about Jane Austen, is out today and looks really interesting. (It is already available in the UK.)

The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley

The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley

Would she ever find a real-life husband?

Would she even find a partner to dance with at tonight’s ball? She just didn’t know. Anna Austen has always been told she must marry rich. Her future depends upon it. While her dear cousin Fanny has a little more choice, she too is under pressure to find a suitor. But how can either girl know what she wants? Is finding love even an option? The only person who seems to have answers is their Aunt Jane.

She has never married. In fact, she’s perfectly happy, so surely being single can’t be such a bad thing? The time will come for each of the Austen girls to become the heroines of their own stories. Will they follow in Jane’s footsteps? In this witty, sparkling novel of choices, popular historian LUCY WORSLEY brings alive the delightful life of Jane Austen as you’ve never seen it before.

 

 

Writing Inspiration: Victorian Queanbeyan

The Landowner's Secret and The Artist's Secret by Sonya Heaney Brindabella Secrets Series Covers

Thanks to Nichole Overall, an author and historian of the Canberra and Queanbeyan region, I’ve finally seen a Victorian-era photograph of The Dog and Stile, the pub that is in the background of my Brindabella Secrets series (book one is currently on sale for $1.99 for readers in Australia and New Zealand!).

The Dog & Stile Inn of 1841, oldest surviving building in Queanbeyan (officially that's The Oaks of 1838 in Oaks Estate, now Canberra), on Macquoid St (named for Supreme Court Sheriff Thomas Macquoid owner of Tuggeranong H

The photograph is from the mid-1800s, and the building still stands in Queanbeyan, New South Wales (but no longer operates as a public house). You can see what it looks like now at the link to Nichole’s account.

The Landowner’s Secret only $1.99 on Kobo!

Readers in Australia and New Zealand! In addition to The Landowner’s Secret being discounted on Kindle for the month of May, the price has now also been dropped on Kobo.

Kobo Australia

Kobo New Zealand

You can read the first two chapters HERE.

The Landowner's Secret May 2020 Price Promotion

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.

On this day: French women finally vote

After decades of campaigning, the women of France voted for the first time on the 29th of April, 1945, when municipal elections were held. Legislation for women’s suffrage had been passed in October the year before.

While late, France wasn’t the last European country to grant women the vote. Women’s suffrage came even later in Italy, Greece, San Marino, Monaco, Andorra and Switzerland. Liechtenstein was the last to adopt equal voting rights – only in 1984.

This image from May of 1935 is of French suffragette Louise Weiss demonstrating alongside women holding papers saying The Frenchwoman Must Vote.

Suffragettes in France demonstrate in May of 1935. French women didn't win the vote until the mid-1940s. Louise Weiss along with other suffragettes in 1935. The bold text on the newspape