Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Blurb Blitz: A Troubled Heart by Tricia McGill

A TROUBLED HEART

Tricia McGill


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Historical Romance


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Unsure of his real past or name, Finn O’Connor thinks he was born in Ireland and taken from his mother as a baby by a gypsy woman. As a toddler, an English woman then took him to London. About ten he fled to join a gang of boys who survived by their wits on the streets. Five years later, he was arrested for a minor crime and transported to The Colony of New South Wales for a 10-year term. In 1846 as transporting of criminals neared an end in NSW, he was moved to the infamous penitentiary at Port Arthur in Van Diemen’s Land.


On the day Finn received his papers of freedom an accidental meeting brought him into contact with 20-year-old Esther Blythe. Born in Surrey, England, genteel Esther is kind and caring. As a 4-year-old her parents brought her to Van Diemen’s Land where her Papa, a doctor, took on the task of providing medical aid to the prisoners at the Port Arthur penitentiary and its surrounding area. Sadly, both parents were killed in an accident, leaving Esther with no option but to work as a governess/nursemaid.


For reasons that even she did not comprehend, Esther took ex-convict Finn under her wing when they met outside the penitentiary hospital. Could be she saw a fellow lonely soul who simply wanted someone to have faith in him. Life seems to take a turn for perhaps the better from then on, but will these two lonely people overcome many obstacles to find the happiness they seek together as they face an uncertain future.  


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EXCERPT:


Through a haze he could hear a voice somewhere above him, and although vaguely aware that someone had called his name all else was lost in pain. The sweat on his face began to sizzle with the heat—or so it seemed. As he opened his eyes a fraction of this sweat ran into their corners and began to sting as if boiling his eyeballs to add to the sawdust already there, or perhaps it was blood.


“Hang on Finn, yer silly bugger, they’ve gone to fetch ‘elp.” The speaker then disappeared and Finn tried to move, but he had to grit his teeth as a searing pain shot through his shoulder and down his arm.


Heaven knew, he’d had his share of agony and discomfort since coming to this godawful place, but this topped it for certain. To take his mind off it he tried to think of better moments in his life, but they were sparce, far back and almost all lost in time.


A sudden movement beside him in the sawpit alerted him that someone had jumped into the pit and was now leaning over him in the narrow space. “Well, here’s a fine mess you’ve got yourself into young fellow,” a kindly voice said. “How in heaven did you manage to do this to yourself? They said you was the top man, so how come you ended up down here amid the sawdust and dirt?” Patting Finn on the unhurt shoulder, he added, “I’m what’s the nearest to what can be called a doctor here today, they call me Johnson.”


Finn squinted up to see that this Johnson was not a lot older than himself, and was likely nearing his thirtieth year. His mop of unruly hair drooped over his forehead as he began to use a knife to hack his way through Finn’s shirt sleeve, and Finn gritted his teeth as the pain seemed to worsen. To add to his injury was the knowledge that he’d done this damage by his own foolishness. If he hadn’t been larking about as usual to show how handy he was with his fists, none of this would have come about. Never one to shirk from a fight, when the big oaf they called Bear started to taunt him, of course he could not back down from the inevitable.


“You’ve lost a small amount of blood from your forehead, but as far as I can see it’s just where you caught the log on your way down.” Turning to rummage about in a small bag he had at his side this Johnson fellow produced a piece of rag and then began to wipe away at the blood. “I fear the problem with your arm could be a lot worse—probably broken.” The searing pain when he moved that arm made Finn flinch and Johnson apologised. “It’s as I expected, we’ll have to get you off to the infirmary.” Patting Finn’s shoulder he said with a small laugh, “This’ll stop you fighting for a while,” then apologised again, adding, “Sorry, my attempt at humour.”


As another shape appeared above him Finn recognised it as his Scottish working mate Spence who then dropped down to stand at his side opposite the man tending him. “We’ll have to haul you up, matey, so grit yer teeth, eh?” Finn’s teeth ached already with the gritting. “How the bloody hell you managed to get yourself in this mess, I can’t work out. It’s not as if you don’t know how to look after yourself. Mucking about never did you any good, and if I told you once I told you a million times, stick to the rules.”


“’Twas that big oaf Bear, if he hadn’t delivered that mighty punch that knocked me sideways and down here, I would have beaten him to next week. Doc here says it’s not that bad—that’s right isn’t it, doc?” Finn grimaced as he tried to push himself up onto his good elbow.


“Well, honestly, I’ve seen many worse. You were unfortunate that you didn’t pick a more suitable spot for your match.”


Someone up above then tossed a rope down, ordering, “Tie it round his shoulders, Spence, and we’ll haul him up.”


Finn had a feeling he might have passed out as he was dragged up out of the pit, only just being squeezed past the huge log that they had been in the process of sawing through when the accident happened. “Guess it could have been worse, matey—if the log had fallen in on top of yer,” one of the haulers said as they lay him down beside the pit. 


This cheerful observation accompanied by a chuckle did nothing to ease the guilt Finn felt. If they had been working on this one for longer and had cut further through it, the log would have fallen onto Spence, and his mate would not now be alive and kicking. He could only offer thanks that they had only started sawing a short time before his silly argument with Bear. Cursing his idiocy for allowing the big idiot to stir him so, he vowed never to be so daft next time.


As Johnson gave orders for Finn to be assisted to the small cart that stood a short distance away, Finn saw Bear standing some distance back laughing his stupid head off and Finn knew his vow would never be kept.

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Award winning author Tricia McGill was born in London, England, and moved to Australia many years ago, settling near


Melbourne. Horses and dogs feature largely in her books. She’s had a succession of dogs in her lifetime and a few horses along the way.


The youngest in a large, loving family she was never lonely or alone. Surrounded by avid readers, who encouraged her to read from an early age, is it any wonder she became a writer? The local library was a treasure trove and magical world of discovery through her childhood and growing years. Tricia is a dreamerwho still dreams every night; snippets from those dreams have translated into ideas for her books.


Although her published works cross sub-genres, romance is always at their heart. Tricia finds the research entailed in writing historicals and her other great passion, time-travels, fascinating.


http://www.triciamcgill.com/


Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Troubled-Heart-Tricia-McGill-ebook/dp/B0CQ5WJRQK


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GIVEAWAY


Tricia McGill will award a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner.


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