It’s release day for Fortune’s Son
by Jennifer Scoullar
Enjoy an excerpt from this new historical rural fiction release
Can one man’s revenge become his redemption?
Young Luke Tyler has everything going for him: brains, looks and a larrikin charm that turns heads. The future appears bright, until he defends his sister from the powerful Sir Henry Abbot. His reward is fifteen years hard labour on a prison farm in Tasmania’s remote highlands.
Luke escapes, finding sanctuary with a local philanthropist, Daniel Campbell, and starting a forbidden relationship with Daniel’s daughter, Belle. But when Luke is betrayed, he must flee or be hanged.
With all seeming lost, Luke sails to South Africa to start afresh. Yet he remains haunted by the past, and by Belle, the woman he can’t forget. When he returns to seek revenge and reclaim his life, his actions will have shattering consequences – for the innocent as well as the guilty.
Set against a backdrop of wild Tasmania, Australian gold and African diamonds, Fortune’s Son is an epic story of betrayal, love and one man’s struggle to triumph over adversity and find his way home.
Jennifer has shared one of the first reviews for Fortune’s Son
Fortune’s Son is an intensely emotional, gripping portrayal of the harsh realities of the late 1800s in Australia’s history by Aussie author Jennifer Scoullar. Outstandingly written, in my opinion this is Scoullar’s best work to date. The beautiful portrayal of Tasmania’s remote highlands, the bush settings, the wild animals which were in danger from the local farmers and the arrogance of the landowners over the poor – all done in a way to make the reader feel deeply involved in the story. The vivid scenery of South Africa also benefitted from her words. I have no hesitation in highly recommending Fortune’s Son to historical fiction fans. Absolutely love the cover too!
~ Brenda Telford, Top Reviewer Goodreads
Excerpt from Fortune’s Son by Jennifer Scoullar
Funny, but on the day it happened Luke had never felt so cocky. As he set off in the cart that grey afternoon through Hobart’s wintry streets, he felt like he owned them. Felt like a king. Youth will do that to you.
Storm clouds piled high in the leaden sky as he drew rein in the lane behind Abbott House. The imposing double-storey home, with its fashionable Battery Point address, was a far cry from Luke’s humble cottage in working-class Wapping. Yet he wouldn’t have swapped them. For all its grandeur, there was something cold, even sinister about the home’s forbidding stone façade.
The force of the gathering gale caused the old pony to whinny and shy like a colt. Luke glanced up at Mt Wellington, its peak shrouded in cloud. Better hurry, the rain would hit soon. He knocked at the kitchen door, cap in hand, head bowed to the bitter southern blast. After a long wait, the housekeeper answered his knock. He was a favourite of hers, and knew it. A handsome lad with even features and bold, brown eyes, women already found his larrikin style and quick wit appealing. But instead of allowing him into the kitchen and out of the weather, perhaps even offering him a treat of freshly baked bread, she seemed oddly flustered and tried to close the door in his face. Luke jammed his boot inside to block it.
‘I’ve come for my sister, Mrs Dunsley. Where is she?’
The housekeeper avoided Luke’s eye and tried again to force the door shut. With a shove, he entered the cosy kitchen, which smelled comfortingly of cinnamon scones and roast beef. Generally he’d find Becky there, chopping vegetables or polishing the silver tableware required for the evening meal when Sir Henry Abbott was in town. This time she was nowhere to be seen.
‘Your sister will be here directly,’ said Mrs Dunsley. ‘She’ll be taking the master his tea, is all. How about a nice piece of corn bread and jam? Or would you rather some cold lamb and chutney? I think I can find a glass of warm buttermilk to go with that.’
Bread and buttermilk? Why wasn’t she cuffing him round the ears for his cheek? And since when was it the job of a lowly kitchen maid to take the master his tea?
Ignoring her protests, he pushed past into the hall. Faint sobs came from the parlour to his left. Bursting through the door he found Rebecca on the floor – blouse undone, skirts pushed up around her waist, lip split and bleeding. On top of her lay a trouser-less Henry Abbott, so intent on his pleasure that for a few seconds he failed to notice Luke enter the room.
He was only fourteen years old, but Luke could more than hold his own in a street fight. Working at his uncle’s blacksmith shop had given him powerful arms and a strong, straight back. Even so, he may well have been no match for the much older and heavier Sir Henry if it had not been for the power of his outrage. And the sight of his sister’s rumpled clothes, skinny legs, and bloody, tear-drenched face caused any respect he might have had for his superiors to vanish.
Luke dragged the surprised man off Rebecca by the collar of his fine starched linen shirt, choking him in the process. Then hurled him half-naked and headfirst against the wall. Henry Abbott tried to stand, revealing a broken nose and two chipped front teeth. Dimly, Luke was aware he should stop, but he didn’t. He drove his fist hard into Abbott’s temple, rendering the master of the house unconscious.
‘Luke, you shouldn’t have . . .’
Turning his attention to Becky, he gently helped her to her feet, murmuring words of comfort, adjusting the crying girl’s clothes. Then, cradled like a child in arms, he carried his sister past the astonished Mrs Dunsley out to the cart, gee’d up the impatient pony and drove home before the storm struck.