Synopsis: In the untamed outback of Western Australia, the Blake sisters are together again despite what seemed like unsurmountable odds.For Cassandra – reunited again with the man she loves – the Swan River Colony is a refuge that seems like a miracle after her ordeals. And two of her sisters have fallen in love with their new way of life. But then a messenger arrives from faraway England, and it is the fourth sister, Pandora, who jumps at the chance to make her way back to the Lancashire moors that she misses so badly.The way home, though, will be even harder than the voyage to Australia. The only ship that can take her and her new protector back to England lies many days’ journey away, across country that would daunt even a hardened explorer.And when she reaches Outham, a devious, dangerous enemy will do anything to prevent her from taking charge of her family’s inheritance …
Review: The second instalment in the Swan River saga, Beyond the Sunset delves further into the life of Pandora Blake, the youngest sister who has terrible homesickness in Australia and longs to return toLancashire,England. After the sisters were driven out of their town and home country by their evil aunt, Pandora fears she could never return. Until, handsome young Zachary Blake arrives with big news- their aunt has died and their uncle left them a small but comfortable inheritance.
Zachary has travelled the long voyage by ship toAustraliaat the request of the sisters’ lawyer to fetch them and bring them back toLancashire to claim their inheritance. Along the way, Zachary has befriended unintelligent, but harmless Leo who he saved from an abusive employer and has travelled with him to the Swan River colony where they hope to find the sisters.
Pandora makes the bold choice to return to England with Zachary, and leaves her three sisters behind. Cassandra, who was the protagonist in Farewell to Lancashire, is expecting child and trying to establish a home with her new husband, Reece.
Pandora has a rocky start to her journey to Albany where she will board the ship to England; she falls ill and is concerned they will miss the ship. Zachary is very gentle, kind and protective of Pandora who he quickly falls in love with. He is very rigid with his morals and feels he could never court or offer marriage to Pandora now that she is considered ‘wealthy.’ Pandora also falls for Zachary but has to convince him that her feelings are true.
I thought Beyond the Sunset started a little slow, but I did like to read what was happening with Cassandra as I had become fond of her from the first novel. Pandora was a strong-willed and passionate young woman and very likeable. She’s pretty and smart and wants to marry someone who appreciates her brains as well as her looks.
There are a lot of characters in this series, which could easily lead you astray, but surprisingly it just made me enjoy the story even more. Plenty of sub-plots and interesting characters that reside in Lancashire and the swan river colony which for me, made it feel like I could envision both communities quite vividly. I could almost imagine walking down the main street in Outham, Lancashire as well as striding across the Southerhams property to Reece and Cassandra’s abode.
Very enjoyable series, I have ordered (and just received!) the third and final book, Destiny’s Path to read very soon.
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About the author: Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. Her novel Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006.
This book was read as part of the these two 2012 challenges: