Discovery: An epic tale of love, loss, and courage.When Elizabeth Gharsia’s headstrong nephew, Gabriel, joins Samuel Champlain’s 1608 expedition to establish a settlement at Quebec, he soon becomes embroiled in a complicated tribal conflict. As months turn into years, Gabriel appears lost to his family.
Meanwhile at home in France the death of her father, Luis, adds to Elizabeth’s anguish. Devastated by her loss, she struggles to make sense of his final words. Could her mother’s journals, found hidden among Luis’s possessions, provide the key to the mystery?
The arrival of Pedro Torres disrupts Elizabeth’s world even further. Rescued from starvation on the streets of Marseille by her brother, Pedro is a victim of the brutal expulsion of his people from Spain. Initially antagonistic, will Elizabeth come to appreciate Pedro’s qualities and to understand the complexity of her family?
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(Stuff you may or may not already know!)
Please read on if you’d like to find out about the significance of the photo!
The first book I can remember reading is Grey Rabbit Finds A Shoe by Alison Uttley. There are two reasons for this. The first is where I was when I read it at the age of seven. I had accidently locked myself in the toilet and it was some time before I was rescued. Nobody had a ladder long enough to reach the upper storey until my mother ran to the coastguard station opposite our house. She slid Grey Rabbit Finds A Shoe under the door to keep me occupied while she was away. Luckily, the gap was just large enough. Eventually, the coastguard’s son gallantly climbed up the station’s ladder, struggled through the small window, and opened the door for me. I did not realise how this incident had become family lore until fairly recently. For my last big ‘0’ birthday I hosted a family party with strict instructions that there were to be no presents. To my surprise, one of my cousins arrived with a neatly wrapped package. It was my copy of Grey Rabbit Finds A Shoe. Apparently, I had passed it on to him as a child and he had kept it, giving me the second reason why I’ll always remember the book.
Fancy dress parties can create some serious planning and hiring unless you have something in your wardrobe. I have in my proud possession a Star Trek uniform as worn by Lieutenant Uhuru in the original series, bought from the Star Trek Experience gift shop in the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas. Some years ago we went as a family and found the simulation so realistic that we were all very relieved when Captain Janeway rescued us from the Borg. Having lunch served by two handsome Klingons made my teenage daughter’s day.
When I went to Vermont to research for Discovery I fell in love. He is warm and cuddly and the colour of honey. Yes, he is an Authentic Vermont Teddy Bear. I know I’m a grown woman but I couldn’t resist him. To help assuage my self-indulgence I bought a second bear for my goddaughter’s new baby. Two teddy bears really do bulk out your suitcase for the return flight!
I achieved late in life (in my fifties) a long-held ambition – I am a member of a dance group. This is remarkable to me as my ballet teacher told me, as a child, that I was more suited to the rugby field than the dance studio. I admit I did love to race around. Wanting a challenge, I went along to a Middle Eastern and Tribal Dance class where everyone was a total stranger. I nearly turned tail but I didn’t and it is one of the best things I have ever done. The exercise, the music, and the camaraderie are uplifting. We meet up with other dance groups, visit residential homes for the elderly, and generally have a joyous time. It is also a brilliant antidote to long stretches of sitting and writing.
While researching my next novel set in Shetland I visited the Family History Society. It was our first day in Lerwick and I was tired from the journey but my husband, Mike, persuaded me to go that afternoon. Reluctantly, I went rather than wait until after the weekend. What a good decision it proved to be! As I signed the visitor book, jotting down my family name, I noticed that two other people had been researching the same name that day. One was from New Zealand and the other from the south of England, both unknown to me. We made contact that evening – they were my fourth cousins. What a coincidence! It made me believe in them! Both of them were leaving for home the following day. One of my cousins has been a great help with my research.
I’ll finish with a photo entitled ‘Windswept research in Shetland’ which beautifully captures the atmosphere.
Barbara Greig was born in Sunderland and lived in Roker until her family moved to Teesdale. An avid reader, she also discovered the joy of history at an early age. A last-minute change of heart, in the sixth form, caused her to alter her university application form. Instead of English, Barbara read Modern and Ancient History at Sheffield University. It was a decision she never regretted.
Barbara worked for twenty years in sixth form colleges, teaching History and Classical Civilisation. Eventually, although enjoying a role in management, she found there was less time for teaching and historical study. A change of focus was required. With her children having flown the nest, she was able to pursue her love of writing and story-telling. She has a passion for hiking and dancing, the perfect antidotes to long hours of historical research and writing, as well as for travel, and wherever possible, she walks in the footsteps of her characters.
Discovery is Barbara’s second novel. Her debut novel Secret Lives was published in 2016 (Sacristy Press).
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