The Vine Weaver by Sara Powter

The Vine Weaver (The Convict Stain Collection)

Hawkesbury River area 1820s+

In the 1820s, Australia, Joel and Hetty Walker live on a secluded farm on the Hawkesbury River which becomes a healing haven for the protection of young convict women.

A series of events brings Fran Rea to the attention of Hetty, and she is taken to the farm. Fran and Hetty develop a cottage industry under the compassionate eye of farmhand Hector Macdougal; Hector’s loving words change lives. It is to him that Fran turns when threatened.

The vines now must draw them close to survive the future revelations, and of those, there are many.

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By Sara Powter

Sara Powter worked with her mother, Sheila Hunter doing their family history. Through this research, they discovered many wonderful Australian Colonial stories from the four Convicts they found in their tree. Sheila thought the stories were too good to forget, so she penned an Australian Colonial Trilogy, which Sara had printed after Sheila’s death in 2002. In the first twelve months of writing, Sara had had two of her books rank #1 in their genre. Jointly written ‘Dancing to her Own Tune’ and ‘Amelias Tears’ shot to almost instant success. The stories are raw and were inspired by aspects of the convict’s background in the author’s family history. (The convict assignment of women was unvetted, and the poor girls often were taken as unwilling bedwarmers, many victims of rape, and they were often returned to prison if they fell pregnant.) Sara now continues the retelling. Weaving fact with fiction tells of the amazing and intrepid souls who worked together to make our wonderful country the fabulous place it is today. The convicts turned adversity to advantage! Stolen from the arms of loved ones in England. They worked and were rewarded with ‘Tickets Of Leave’, each becoming some of Parramatta’s and Emu Plains’ leading citizens. Like many untold convict stories, there was often faith behind them. Their strong Christian Faith was taught to each generation. She writes, “Over 200 years have passed since the first arrival of our family on this beautiful but rugged shore. Each day I come to love it more. Lee Kernaghan’s song “The Odyssey” sums it up! This country’s got a hold on me! I will never regret that they came as convicts! I’m proud of that!” Although they were ripped from their loving families’ arms, never to return, they learned to love the life and what it offered them. All were sent for very petty crimes. It made them strong, resilient, and determined to do their best for their family! The retelling of Charles and Sal’s story mirrors John Ellison’s and Sarah Watkins’ story. They were my GG Grandparents, along with Joseph Huff and Amelia Harlow. They regularly attended St John’s church in Parramatta. Without their faith and example of Christian love, their own children and grandchildren may have followed different paths. Sara is married to Stephen Powter. They have two grown children. Stephen, an Anglican Minister, is recently retired. Sara loves to fish, and he to surf, so you may well see them travelling up and down the Pacific Coast of the Eastern States of Australia in an old caravan with rods and surfboards under their 50+ year old tinny! They live on the Central Coast of NSW. NB The spelling in the books is Australian /English

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