I am an Australian author who loves delving into the pages of history as I carry out research for my historical romance novels. I take pride in being historically correct. No history book is too old or tattered for me to trawl through. I have tramped through cemeteries, spent hours in museums.
I visited an old jail once and went into the little stone cell, and although it was a hot day, inside the cell it was bone chillingly cold. I wanted to know what it was like to be incarcerated in such a place, as the heroine in my novel, Devil's Ridge, was thrown in jail for a crime she did not commit.
During research for my novels Shattered Dreams and Devil's Ridge, both set during the 1st World War, I visited the battlefields of France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience.
Several of my stories are based on the hardships and triumphs of my pioneering ancestors as they fought a savage, untamed wilderness and won.
I am a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC.
I live in Australia and I am married and have three grown up sons and one adorable little grand-daughter
SAVAGE UTOPIA published by Whiskey Creek Press.
Set in the 1820's.
BLURB: On board the convict ship taking them to the penal colony of Australia, Maryanne Watson and Jake Smith meet and fall in love, but Jake hides a terrible secret that will take him to the gallows if it ever comes out.
On arrival in Sydney the lovers are separated. Maryanne is sent to work for the lecherous Captain Fitzhugh. After he attacks her she flees into the wilderness and eventually meets up with Jake who has escaped from a chain gang.
They set up home in a hidden valley and Maryanne falls pregnant. Will Jake come out of hiding to protect his fledgling family? And how can love triumph over such crushing odds?
Review - SAVAGE UTOPIA - LASR - 5 boooks
Margaret Tanner creates a story of inextinguishable love and of the indomitable desire to survive shown by some prisoners transported from England to Australia in the 1800s.
The vicarious experience the reader has with Maryanne Watson is heartbreaking at times. From the very first sentence, tension grips the reader. From beatings and traumatic experiences at home, to the asylum, to prison, then to the hulk that takes Maryanne halfway around the world, the reader has a vivid picture of how this young woman's life deteriorates to an unrelenting torment.
But, where there is life there is hope. When she boards the hulk for transport, the spark of love that ignites in her heart when she sees the fire of desire in Jake Smith's eyes kindles a love that sustains them both through unspeakable cruelty and degradation.
While Savage Utopia is a fictional story, much of it is based on historical facts. It is a spellbinding story of the disenfranchised people of England and Ireland who were transported to Australia to serve prison sentences in the dehumanizing penal system there. Many of the prisoners, after serving their time, chose to make a life in this new land.
Margaret Tanner's characters come alive as they struggle to survive in the wilds of Australia, a harsh land but one of magnificent beauty totally different from England and Ireland.
As Maryanne, the parson's daughter; Jake, whose birthright was stolen; and their ever-faithful friend Libby, the unapologetic prostitute triumph over all the horrors of their imprisonment and seek to make a life in this land, the reader gets to enjoy an extraordinary love story as well as a story of friendship that is most memorable.
Savage Utopia is a prequel to Stolen Birthright and I'm hoping to see a sequel in the no-to-distant future. Good reading
SIMPLY ROMANCE REVIEWS - SAVAGE UTOPIA - Graded A
Maryanne Watson is forced to watch her father rape and torture her younger sister and when the girl finally dies from the abuse, Maryanne can't keep her temper any longer. When she speaks out, her step-mother attacks her, and though she acts in self defense, it is Maryanne who finds herself on a convict ship bound for Australia.
Ms Tanner spins a vivid picture of a convict's life in the colonial times. Her descriptions of the jail, the convict ship, the treatment of the prisoners are very well detailed, enough to leave the reader cringing in horror. Maryanne, though at times somewhat whiny, remains strong throughout her ordeal, clinging to the hope of freedom and civilization and the love of Jake Smith. Jake starts out as a strong character, though one sometimes wonders through his brutality why Maryanne holds so tightly to him. He is many times toeing a line of being completely in love with Maryanne and rejecting her for her fears, which made me sometimes completely despise the man.
Savage utopia is a definite page turner as you follow Maryanne on her journey through the brutal English justice system, hoping and despairing with her as she searched for her utopia.
REVIEW YOUR BOOK.COM - 5 stars
In the 1800s the British government used Australia as a penal colony. The convicts were loaded on a ship, and six months later, they disembarked in a land that was mostly untamed, and harsh.
Accused of assaulting her stepmother, Maryanne was sentenced to seven years in Australia. Raised a parson's daughter, she knew little about the life of a convicted criminal. A prostitute named Libby befriended her. The two women made a pact to survive. Life was cruel. From the moment Maryanne met Jake she loved him. The man carried resentment in his heart. Could her love tame the savage in him?
Savage Utopia has a fascinating plot. Margaret Tanner gave each of her characters a distinct voice. Maryanne began as a naive young woman, by the end of the story, she has matured into a remarkable woman.
Denied his birthright Jake is angry and violent. I enjoyed his character for the way he developed from a womanizing criminal to a loving person. My favourite character was Libby, her character had incredible depth. She was a feisty survivor. Fans of historical romance will enjoy Savage Utopia.
STOLEN BIRTHRIGHT - Sequel to Savage Utopia. Whiskey Creek Press.
Set in the 1840's.
BLURB: Can an English aristocrat ever hope to marry the daughter of convicts?
Georgina, a wild colonial girl, is brought up by O'Rourke, a rough and ready Irishman who she believes is her uncle.
While helping the bushranger Johnny Dawson escape from prison she meets and falls in love with a dashing young English aristocrat, the Honourable Marcus Lindquist.
When Johnny Dawson is ambushed and killed, Marcus finally learns the secret of what has bound the young outlaw to Georgina. Johnny is her brother, not her lover as he had jealously supposed, but even darker secrets from the past overshadow their love.
Meanwhile, twelve thousand miles across the sea, Marcus' Godfather, is plotting Georgina's death to keep his dark secrets from ever seeing the light of day.
Debra Gaynor -ReviewYourBook.Com - 4 stars
The setting is Australia. Marcus Lindquist was forced to leave London, where he was falsely accused of rape. Georgina and cohorts were attempting to free Johnny Dawson from troopers. He was accused of being a bushranger. Georgina lured the troopers away, risking her own life. She took refuge at the inn. Marcus was surprised to find a young woman hiding in his room. She sensed he would not harm her.
Margaret Tanner is a talented author Stolen Birthright's plot is spell-binding. She cleverly demonstrates what life was like during the colonial days of Australia. George and Marcus are delightful characters. Fans of romance will enjoy Stolen Birthright.
Stolen Birthright - Reviewed by Camellia - at LASR - 5 Books
THE TROUBLE WITH PLAYBOYS Published by The Wild Rose Press
Set against a background of the 2nd World War
BLURB: When a wealthy Englishman, Paul Ashfield travels to Australia in search of the birth mother he thinks deserted him, he never expects to meet and fall in love with Daphne Clarke. Upon meeting her parents, Paul is horrified by the possibility that they have the same mother. He beats a hasty retreat, believing he has slept with his sister.
Amidst the turmoil of WW2 they meet again in Singapore, where he discovers the truth, Daphne is not his sister. They marry as the Japanese pour into Malaya and Singapore teeters on the brink of invasion. In the chaotic aftermath, each believe the other has died during the bombing. When they finally see each other again, it is in a church, where Paul is about to enter into an arranged marriage.
Rating: 4.5 Books - by Edelweiss at LASR
Daphne Clarke is a small-town Australian girl, of working class background, studying to be a nurse. Paul Ashfield is an aristocratic English playboy, bored with his life and friends, except that he would like to know who his true mother was.
This is a well written book, with spare, smooth prose that draws the reader into the story like a riptide. Clear your calendar for this one because it is hard to put down once starting. A bonus is that it also packs suspense, with tantalizing plot twists that keep you guessing about the final outcome. On top of that, this story ranges wide, exploring themes that give the love story unusual depth and tension. We see characters struggling to overcome their very real faults. We see love's bliss wrung out by the voluntary call to patriotic duty. We ourselves are torn by the very upheaval of war: of desperate decisions, of lives teetering in fate's balance, of the place of privileged social status as the maelstrom approaches.
The challenges that the lovers face in a wartime situation are very realistic, and they make for an exciting plot. This is a worthwhile read, a story that will not let you go till the final page.
THE ROMANCE STUDIO - 5 hearts - Brenda Talley.
Paul Thomas Ashfield had known for years that his 'mother' hated him. When he wanted to take a trip to Australia on business and try to find his birth mother, his father, Sir Phillip Ashfield refused. Paul went anyway. He hit a brick wall in his search for his mother, but met and fell in love with, Daphne Clarke, who was in nursing school. He ran when he uncovered an old diary which showed that the woman he fell in love with had the same mother as he.
This book has a beautiful story to tell and Ms. Margaret Tanner did so beautifully. The work involved in relating the happenings during WW11 time frame could have been overwhelming. However, Tanner's storytelling ability was brilliant.
I shed many tears while reading this book. The story was well written and interesting from the first page to the surprise ending. I love characters that are strong and willing to fight for what they want. I highly recommend this book. It is one that readers will not soon forget. I'm thrilled to have been able to review it.