FROM the high seas to the deep seabed, from the latticed verandahs of Buccaneer Bay to the gambling dens in Asia Place, The Pearler's Wife is a stunning debut, inspired by a small yet pivotal moment in Australian history.
A distant land. A dangerous husband. A forbidden love.
It is 1912, and Maisie Porter stands on the deck of the SS Oceanic as England fades from view. Her destination is Buccaneer Bay in Australia's far north-west. Her purpose - marriage to her cousin Maitland, a wealthy pearling magnate and a man she has never met.
Also on board is William Cooper, the Royal Navy's top man.
Following a directive from the Australian government, William and eleven other 'white' divers have been hired to replace the predominantly Asian pearling crews. However, Maitland and his fellow merchants have no intention of employing the costly Englishmen for long . . .
Maisie arrives in her new country to a surprisingly cool reception. Already confused by her hastily arranged marriage, she is shocked at Maitland's callous behaviour towards her while finding herself increasingly drawn to the intriguing Cooper.
But Maisie's new husband is harbouring secrets - deadly secrets.
And when William and the divers sail out to harvest the pearl shell, they are in great danger, and not just from the unpredictable and perilous ocean . . .
Published by Penguin Random, Roxane Dhand's The Pearler's Wife is in bookshops for RRP $32.99. It's also available as an ebook.