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List Price: $15.00 Also available: Amazon, B&N, BAM, IndieBound, Target, Walmart, Hudson Booksellers

In a stunning debut novel that evokes the epic scope of Colleen McCullough’s classic The Thorn Birds, Harmony Verna creates a poignant, beautifully told story of love and courage, set in Australia and America in the early decades of the twentieth century.

The desert of Western Australia is vast and unforgiving. It’s a miracle that the little girl dressed in rags and abandoned in the sand is still breathing when an old miner discovers her. Even more so that he is able to keep her alive long enough to bring her to the town from which she’ll take her name: Leonora. Sent to an orphanage, mute with grief and fear, Leonora slowly bonds with another orphan, James, who fights to protect her until both are sent away—Leonora to a wealthy American family, James to relatives who have emigrated from Ireland to claim him.

Now a young woman among Pittsburgh’s elite, Leonora is married off to a mining tycoon. Alexander Harrington is handsome, ambitious—and possessed of a vicious streak he hides from his bride until it’s too late to change her mind. But the marriage brings something Leonora values above all else: a chance to return to her beloved Australia. There, in Wanjarri Downs, she will again come face to face with James, who’s grown from a reticent boy into a strong, resourceful man. Only James knows the truth about Leonora—that her roots and her heart are here, among the gum trees and red earth. And they will fight to find a way back to each other, even as war, turmoil, and jealousy test their courage again and again.

Sweeping in scale yet filled with intricately drawn characters and vivid details that conjure the fascinating setting, Daughter of Australia is storytelling at its most exhilarating and rewarding.

Publisher: Kensington Publishing

Harmony Verna is represented by Marie Lamba of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency.