Set in Queensland Australia between the years 1895 to 1910, about the time of the Federation, Isabel is a compelling tale of forbidden love, jealousy and bonds that shaped a woman's life, much through emotion and the triumph of the human spirit. Isabel defies the traditions of the times to maintain her beliefs and ideals against all odds. Even after her lover's death, she is still not sure whether a life is possible with any other man, when the past returns with haunting thoughts. She believes her dead lover's very absence holding her captive, with no room to move. The story is a layered journey which conflicts with the past and the necessity for change, and explores the passionate relationship between Isabel, a white sugar planter's daughter and Samolie, a Kanaka labourer. But can happiness continue? At heart a deeply moving story.
She waited there until morning approached. Her gaze took her to a restful sea blazed by the rising sun. A swift thought brought her hope. A hope that he would return soon.
‘The history of the Queensland sugar industry has generated many books but few of them are novels, and none before Isabel takes on mixed-race relationships. Isabel is a finely textured and historically extremely accurate novel based in the sugar fields around Mackay in the Pioneer Valley and also at Rockhampton, Bundaberg and the Logan districts of Australia. The time is the fin-de-ciècle years between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when the old plantation system based on Melanesian labour was being phased out for a new White Australia. Samolie is a labourer from Tanna Island in what is now Vanuatu. Isabel is the daughter of a planter. It was a relationship that was against the morals of the time but it flowered in inauspicious circumstances. The text is lightly written, aware of the cultural nuances of the relationship and times. This is the Kanaka novel that had to be written. It is a tale of love and history.' Professor Clive Moore, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, Queensland University.
‘... I could not put down the book from the moment I started reading it. It is an epic, full of human drama and tragedy and inspiration, the triumph of the human spirit against the odds. There are several strands expertly brought together: unattained love, the labour traffic, political developments in the background, the indomitable will of a woman, her tenacity.'
Dr Brij V Lal, Australian National University;
Frances Isaac has been a fiction writer for over twenty-five years and she has also worked as a journalist and freelance writer in Australia, and abroad including in England.
Her previous books of fiction include, Strands of Serendipity and Footprints on Quicksand. Some of her stories have been prize winners and described as literary gems. Her work has been featured in publications and anthologies both in Australia and overseas.
While Frances worked as a journalist in the Pioneer Newspapers in Mackay in Australia, she travelled extensively and gained an insight into the beginnings of the sugar industry, and her research helped her to web fiction with certain facts to write this novel.
Frances was involved with the arts, such as films and drama, but maintained a sustained interest in writing.
Beyond the Pyre
Journey to Warudhar
The Wanton Angel
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