This is the first novel of the Coloured Sands Trilogy.
1901: A little girl wanders down a creek in central Queensland after the revenge massacre of her family. She becomes known as The Crazy Orphan and is rendered mute for two years.
A host of remarkable characters pour in and out of her life. The pioneering Wilsons and their six children provide the love that remains indelibly printed on her soul. An extraordinary event at the annual Racing Carnival has her venting her anger in an outburst that relaxes her vocal chords, but the incident has her banished from the community the same day.
A crusty policeman saves her from an institution after sensationalist reporting of The Crazy Orphan. She is delivered into the hands of a famous doctor who almost mends her wounded spirit.
At the age of 20 she falls in love with the heir to Jooloonga Station and returns (incognito) to central Queensland. Her unerring need to shed the trauma of her childhood drives her forward to accomplish amazing success in the cattle and racehorse industries. Her fiery ambition and tenacity dictate no boundaries – she leaves others of lesser spirit panting in her wake.
This exceptional novel with twists and turns of the heart captures the essence of a family through the two world wars and the great depression. Her only son, a famous polo player, war hero and cattle baron is widowed after the Second World War. He has his own demons to conquer after falling in love with the half-caste governess. The joining of mixed cultures unravels into an amazingly profound love story where seclusion and secrets are a way of life for twenty years.
Enjoy the enchanting beauty of the Australian bush, relish the unusual characters of inland Australia and above all become absorbed in a story incomparable – unusual – unique.
Barbara Hartmann King was awarded an Australia Day Cultural Prize for Coloured Sands.