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September Free Chapter - The Jade Widow by Deborah O'Brien

September Free Chapter - The Jade Widow by Deborah O'Brien

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Published by RandomHouseAU
A captivating historical novel of pioneering Australian women finding their way in a man's world, from the author of the bestselling Mr Chen's Emporium.

It is 1885, and Amy Chen is still in black, more than a decade after the death of her beloved husband Charles. But her widow's weeds belie a determined young woman with a big ambition: Amy is going to build the grandest rural hotel in the colony of New South Wales, complete with its very own ‘ascending cabinet'.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Eliza Miller, has dreams of her own - to become one of Australia's first female doctors. However when she returns to Millbrooke from her medical studies at the Sorbonne, she finds the job she thought was hers has been taken … by a man.

Over the course of two turbulent years both women will face difficult choices – love or duty? Career or marriage? Is it possible to have it all …?
A captivating historical novel of pioneering Australian women finding their way in a man's world, from the author of the bestselling Mr Chen's Emporium.

It is 1885, and Amy Chen is still in black, more than a decade after the death of her beloved husband Charles. But her widow's weeds belie a determined young woman with a big ambition: Amy is going to build the grandest rural hotel in the colony of New South Wales, complete with its very own ‘ascending cabinet'.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Eliza Miller, has dreams of her own - to become one of Australia's first female doctors. However when she returns to Millbrooke from her medical studies at the Sorbonne, she finds the job she thought was hers has been taken … by a man.

Over the course of two turbulent years both women will face difficult choices – love or duty? Career or marriage? Is it possible to have it all …?

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Published by: RandomHouseAU on Sep 09, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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02/10/2014

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Copyright © Deborah O’Brien 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
 
5
IAMY
Millerbrooke House, Millbrooke, NSW Saturday 14th February, 1885
A
ll afternoon the fierce February heat had kept the two youngwomen indoors, sipping lemonade and wafting silk fans in avain attempt to cool themselves. Even the children had abandonedtheir outdoor pursuits and disappeared into the depths of the cellarwhere they were busy building a fort from fruit boxes.‘I fear I will succumb to the vapours if this heat continues,’sighed Eliza Miller, waving her fan theatrically.‘I didn’t know you could catch the vapours from the heat,’ saidAmy Chen, her voice full of anxiety.Eliza began to laugh. ‘Of course you can’t. I was speaking in jest.There is no such thing as the vapours.’‘Did you learn that in your studies at the Sorbonne?’‘Hardly. The professors are
men
.’‘Then how did you reach such a conclusion?’‘Have you ever heard of a man having the vapours?’
Copyright © Deborah O’Brien 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
 
6
Deborah O’Brien
‘Of course not. It is a disorder of the feminine constitution.’‘Piffle! It is an ailment created by physicians to keep us in ourplace.’Although Amy was inclined to berate Eliza for her use of a curseword, she really wanted to hear more.
Us?
’ she enquired.‘Women. They tell us we’re weak and hysterical. Which iswhy we can’t be entrusted with the vote. But that’s utter
twaddle
!The women of this colony are its unsung heroines, the silentsupporters in a world where men claim all the credit.’This time Amy couldn’t let the curse pass without a comment.‘Eliza! What if the children heard you speaking in such a manner?’‘They are playing in the cellar. And Joseph’s dead to the world.’
 
Her older brother, who had only just returned from mustering, wasslumped in an armchair, his yellow curls falling over his forehead.‘Well, thank goodness for that. I daresay he wouldn’t approve of anything you’ve said.’‘And what about you, Amy?’‘Sometimes I think you live in a different world from the restof us, Eliza. A strange land where things are upside down and backto front.’Eliza just smiled. ‘It never hurts to look at things from a differentperspective, you know. Some people around here are far too set in theirways.’ She shot a glance at the sleeping Joseph. Beside them a cardtable was piled neatly with Sydney newspapers. Eliza took the upper-most journal and glanced at the headline. ‘Do you think he’ll escape?’‘General Gordon? Of course I do. I pray for him every night.’‘It’s odd, isn’t it, how an Englishman, besieged in Africa, hasbecome the focus of attention around the world. Everyone is waitingwith bated breath for the latest news – even in little Millbrooke.’‘I don’t think it’s at all odd. General Gordon is the greatest heroof our time. The entire British Empire is following his story, from
Copyright © Deborah O’Brien 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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