Cold Blows the Wind: Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour.

Hobart Town 1878 – a vibrant town drawing people from every corner of the earth where, with confidence and a flair for storytelling, a person can be whoever he or she wants. Almost.

Ellen Thompson is young, vivacious and unmarried, with a six-month-old baby. Despite her fierce attachment to her family, boisterous and unashamed of their convict origins, Ellen dreams of marriage and disappearing into the ranks of the respectable. Then she meets Harry Woods.

Harry, newly arrived in Hobart Town from Western Australia, has come to help his aging father, ‘the Old Man of the Mountain’ who for more than twenty years has guided climbers on Mount Wellington. Harry sees in Ellen a chance to remake his life.

But, in Hobart Town, the past is never far away, never truly forgotten. When the past collides with Ellen’s dreams, she is forced to confront everything in life a woman fears most.

Based on a period in the lives of the author’s great-great-grandparents, Sarah Ellen Thompson and Henry Watkins Woods, Cold Blows the Wind is not a romance but it is a story of love – a mother’s love for her children, a woman’s love for her family and, those most troublesome loves of all, for the men in her life. It is a story of the enduring strength of the human spirit.


Mam began to ladle the stew onto plates, and Bessie and Jane placed them on the table. Dad put his paper aside as the rest seated themselves on the benches and assorted chairs either side of the table.

Ellen ate a mouthful of her stew, then continued to feed Billy.

‘I wonder where Will is now,’ Mary Ann said.

Dad finished chewing. ‘Out in the middle of the ocean. They can go months without making land. He said this would be a long tour.’

Mam’s eyes shone but she said brightly, ‘George should be home soon.’

They all turned as the front door slammed.

‘Speak of the devil,’ Dad laughed.

‘George,’ the young women all squealed together, jumping up from their seats and crowding around their brother.

‘My, you do smell sweet.’ Ellen stood on tiptoes to kiss his cheek, Billy on her hip.

‘Of course I do.’ He dumped his kitbag against the wall. ‘I’ve been to the Turkish baths and had a shave. A new set of clothes too.’ He spun in front of her. ‘What do you think of the jacket?’

Ellen ran her eyes over the single-breasted jacket in blue checked wool. ‘Very smart.’ She screwed up her nose. ‘I can still smell whale oil.’

‘Smell or no smell, it pays well.’ He looked around the room. ‘Will not here?’

‘He’s been and gone in the time you’ve been away,’ Dad said. ‘Off on the Emily Downing at the start of the month.’

‘Sit down, son.’ Mam was back at the stove, ladling stew onto a plate. ‘Bessie, cut your brother some bread.’

‘Shove up, Ellen.’ George sat on the bench beside Ellen. ‘I could eat a horse.’

‘No horse in the pot here,’ Mam snorted.

George turned to Ellen, his eyes on the child on her lap. ‘And who do we have here?’

‘Your nephew.’

‘Who’s the father?’

There was silence in the room.

‘You are blunt, aren’t you?’ Ellen said, a twist to her mouth.

‘Well,’ George grinned, ‘I’ve learnt babies don’t just appear on the doorstep.’

‘That mongrel John Collins.’

‘And he didn’t marry you.’ It was a statement not a question.

‘No, and I wouldn’t have him if he was served up on a platter with an apple in his mouth.’

‘Do you want me to have a word with him?’

‘He cleared out soon as I told him. Didn’t give Will or Dad a chance to have a serious word with him.’

‘What’s the lad called?’ He grinned at the boy and took his chubby fingers in his, shaking them gently.

Billy eyed his uncle warily and buried his face against Ellen’s shoulder.

‘William John Thompson.’

‘Not George—I am disappointed.’

‘I’ll call the next one George.’

‘Next one?’ George arched an eyebrow.‘Oh, I’ll have a ring on my finger before then. A big one I can wave under old Mrs Bryce’s no

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Catherine Meyrick is an Australian writer of romantic historical fiction. She lives in Melbourne but grew up in Ballarat, a large regional city steeped in history. Until recently she worked as a customer service librarian at her local library. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also an obsessive genealogist.

When she is not writing, reading and researching, Catherine enjoys gardening, the cinema and music of all sorts from early music and classical to folk and country & western. And, not least, taking photos of the family cat to post on Instagram.

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