BOOK CLUB: Whitsunday Dawn

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Author: Annie Seaton
ISBN: 9781489257802
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 23 July 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Whitsunday Dawn is not my first Annie Seaton and it certainly won’t be my last. I was introduced to her work with the first of the Porter Sisters series, Kakadu Sunset, and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when we ran out of Porter sisters to read about. Seaton does have quite a collection of other releases, which I haven’t read, but I believe are in a different romantic genre. The Porter Sisters trilogy has elements of romance but they have strong adventure storylines and are very environmentally focused.

The Whitsundays are an idyllic paradise I have only ever heard about or seen in photos but Seaton has brought them to life within the pages of this book and what a glorious holiday destination it would make. Whitsunday Dawn shares the major elements with the Porter Sisters trilogy and adds a fascinating element of history that reads authentically and comes across meticulously researched.

There were a few different elements of suspense in Whitsunday Dawn and I loved that. There was a sense of mystery and puzzles to piece together. The biggest puzzle I put together but I never quite got the how.

Olivia Sheridan is the face of PR for Sheridan Corp, a big mining company proposing a project in the Whitsunday region, she is also the daughter of the boss. Eight years she has slogged her guts out for the company, giving it everything she has in the hope of making her Dad proud. She heads to the Whitsundays to host a community meeting about the proposed project, designed to allay the fears of the community and convince them that this is a good idea.

Her work for Sheridan Corp has become less satisfying, all her years at university are being wasted as her father uses her need for approval to convince her to do things in the name of her job without question. She is given information on a need to know basis and made to just relay the info she has, deferring to others for answering questions, which could well be tricky. She has worked tirelessly on this presentation to have last minute changes made that leave her a little less prepared than she would like.

Dual timelines add the element of mystery as we try to work out how they are connected. Seaton has added a captivating look at the region in wartime as we slowly get to know the family of the fascinating matriarch of a local family, Aunty Tat.

Whitsunday Dawn is topical, intriguing and disturbing all at once. Our environment is at risk from so many factors and mining companies wanting to reopen old mines, or open new mines, tend to find the right spin to sway communities; sometimes they seem to get the approvals they need even in the face of community dissent. Seaton has explored one very disturbing way that these projects can be passed.

Olivia Sheridan spends the weekend in the Whitsundays in the lead up to the meeting, her original plan had been to work on the presentation and get to know it inside out form her hotel room over the weekend; a chance encounter on her way from the airport to the hotel changed everything. She ended up doing some exploring and seeing a lot of the area; which gave her a much more human outlook than just the concepts on maps and in print.

I loved Seaton’s characters, well most of them. Olivia is a complex young lady who has been chasing approval for so many years that she doesn’t even realise how much of herself she has lost. She is in the area for work and has only been given the need to know info, until she starts to see for herself how terrible a coal loader and railway will be for the region. Her desire to believe the best of people sees her in deep.

Captain Jay was a fascinating character who it took quite a while to get the measure of. He has been called a jack of all trades and he certainly popped up in some unexpected places. He is passionate and determined, enigmatic and charismatic.

Aunty Tat is a fabulous family matriarch who is slipping between the past and the present. She is surrounded by a large extended family that is close and affectionate, but she still suffers the loss of a sister who disappeared without a trace in the war. We are taken back to Whitsunday Island in the 1940s when it is the home of Tatiana and her family.

I loved this story and the way it all came together. I would actually love more of Aunty Tat, we had a year or so of her early life during the war and then we see her in the twilight of her life, slipping back to the past but there is nothing of the years in between. I would love to read the story of the Ellis family through the 70-ish years in between what is covered in Whitsunday Dawn.

Seaton has included some fascinating historical information about the Whitsunday region, in the early days of settlement and throughout the war. She illuminates the very real issues facing the iconic Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Dawn is a book that I would definitely recommend.

Whitsunday Dawn is book #36 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2018.

Annie Seaton can be found on her Website and Facebook.

Whitsunday Dawn is published by Harlequin Mira and is available through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin Mira 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Whitsunday Dawn so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

15 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Whitsunday Dawn

  1. I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. The cover depicts Whitehaven beach beautifully. I found myself actually saying…..I sat right there on that sand.

    The book has two stories which you wonder how they could be related to each other or even if they are.

    Olivia Sheridan works for her dad’s mining company. She is eager to please him as it is her dad’s Company. Although he and her adoring mother are longer together, Olivia disregards the warnings from her mum about working for him. Olivia wants to show her dad with what she can do in the Company. The Company is called Sheridan Group and they have such big plans for a coal loader in the Whitsundays. It is up to Olivia to let the people of this area know that what will be happening will be beneficial to the area.

    Olivia arrives on Hamilton Island to prepare her case and also have a bit of a rest on such a beautiful island. A lady called Tat calls out to her but it just seems like mistaken identity. Tat thought it was her long lost sister.

    The book moves through the years of 2018 with Olivia and 1942 with Tat and her family.

    Tat is actually called Aunty Tat and her memory fades quite alot with times. She just misses her sister that disappeared and would love to know whatever happened to her. During the times of 1942 we revert to war times when the Japanese were on the attack. It was sad reading about being a prisoner of war during that time.

    There are no many warm beautiful characters in this book. It really is a page turner.

    When reading this book, I loved how I could relate to a lot of places that the Author Annie Seaton mentions, from landing at the airport on Hamilton Island to the Reef Hotel and the restaurants and eating places.

    This book is truely a fascinating read and captures the scenery of the Whitsundays so well. It definitely has captivating storylines, romance and adrenalin. Definitely a page turner.

    Thanks Beauty & Lace and Harlequin Books for this beautiful book to read.

  2. Whitsunday Dawn was the first book by Annie Seaton I have read.
    It certainly won’t be the last.
    I love the description of the Whitsunday Islands, the gorgeous coloured water and sparking sands.
    This brought the location to life and I could visualise physically being there.

    The Enviromental issues raised of the Great Barrier Reef is ongoing in the Media and everyone reading this book would have heard of them.

    Annie Seaton has breached the story line of two strong women many years apart and it flows effortlessly and is easy to follow.

    2018. Olivia Sheridan arrives in the Whitsunday Islands to attend a Community Meeting
    to convince the locals of the benefits of a proposed project by the company she works for, run by her Father.
    Olivia has never been to the area before and after a chance meeting with a local,
    she is stunned to realise that the project she believed in
    may have a long standing detrimental effect on the enviroment.
    She is torn between her loyalty to her Father and with doing what she feels is right.
    Olivia finds herself in a dangerous situation that may become fatal if she becomes careless.

    Olivia also has a chance meeting with an older lady, Aunty Tat,
    who mistakes her for her sister who disappeared many years ago.

    1941. Lily has finished school in Brisbane and cannot wait to return home to her beloved Whitsunday Island,
    and her family. Tat is her younger sister.
    Lily is getting very nervous with reports of the War in the Newspapers.
    She meets Jack. He is in the Air Force working on the flying Catalina’s planes.
    When he is transfered to Bowen, he spends his Leave on Whitsunday Island.
    They have a blossoming love.

    As the book unfolds, we learn of Lily,Tat and their family living in isolation
    with little to no news about what is happening outside their paradise and the far reaching ripples the War has on them.
    This is an amazing story of the two main characters of Olivia and Lily and how their lives are intertwined
    but not until further in the book they start to be uncovered.
    Then it all makes sense and you will wonder how you didn’t see it earlier.

    I adored this book, the characters, the location and the issues raised.
    I would highly recommend this to many readers of different genres.

    1. oooops I have read Annie Seaton before, Diamond Sky which I really enjoyed.
      Sorry I had a brain thingy 🙂

  3. Wow – I want to go to the Whitsundays! Seaton’s descriptions of the area are amazing and I could easily picture myself there. I mean who wouldn’t want to be on a beautiful tropical beach right now?! As an ecologist myself I also really enjoyed the topic around saving the Reef. This was my first Annie Seaton novel and I would be keen to read another.

    Olivia Sheridan works for her Father’s company and travels to the Whitsundays to deliver a presentation to the local community about a proposed project in the area. After exploring the area herself and meeting the locals, Olivia begins to question her father’s intentions.

    The story of Olivia (or Liv) is told in parallel with a story based in the 1940s. One of a family on the Whitsunday Islands and their struggles during World War 2. The contrast of the two different lives is an eye opener and I am certainly grateful to be living in 2018.

    While not a page turner initially for me (but a nice read nonetheless) I was soon turning pages quickly in the second half. I am not sure I would have chosen the book based on the cover but the title is a good reflection.

    This book is full of romance, loss, friendships and hardships. I really liked this novel and would like to thank Beauty and Lace as well as Harlequin Australia for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  4. A book that has in the opening pages Olivia the lead character tottering along on her Christian Louboutin heels hitching her ‘Boss’ satchel over her shoulder, in her uniform blue pencil skirt, has set the scene that the heroine hails from a corporate world totally out of sync with the crystal blue water backdrop of the Whitsundays. However, what does emerge is Liv, her 2018 character is a force to be reckoned with unlike Lily her 1942 look a-like who mysteriously vanished and was always a ‘good’ girl who played by the rules.

    The book switches between the Japanese airborne attacks on Townsville in 1942 to the present war between Sheridan Corp and the environmental disaster they are waging on the protected waterways and pristine coral reefs of the Whitsundays. Falling in love with the 2018 sometimes confused Aunty Tat, and the 1942 constantly chatty Tatiana, the boisterous twins Billy (goat) and Robert is easy, along with their idyllic carefree lifestyle growing up free to roam amongst the lush green hills of their island home. When guests Charlie, Roger and Jack come to stay in the tourist palm huts dad had built that lined the shore, mum Alexandra has a serious chat to her growing daughters to remind them ‘they must behave like genteel young ladies, and at no times were they to be alone with any of those boys’. Maybe mama’s nerves were on edge because there was some truth to the rumour and dad should have paid more attention and not just laughed it off.

    As Liv admires the wide bays and sheltered waterways in 2018, she can’t help commenting to Fynn ‘it just looks so familiar’ despite it being her first time to the Whitsundays, maybe she’d seen them on a travel show on TV. Yet, 1942 Lily knew those same caves, nooks and crannies like the back of her hand and could navigate her way on those craggy hillsides just as well as the goats.

    Picture perfect descriptions of the landscapes, make you feel like you are there, and you can hear the 2018 gentle soft slap of the small waves against the hull of Fynn’s yacht ‘Footprint’ Then your ears reverberate as the 1942 Catalina squadrons match the fire power of the Japanese destroyers. The knitting together of the two decades in the story is seamless, and just when I thought I had the connection all figured out, I was bowled over at the end and definitely did not see that coming.

    I can’t recommend this book highly enough, thank you so much Beauty and Lace and Harlequin, it will appeal to all ages: – daughters, mothers and grand-mothers alike, and I so look forward to Annie Seaton’s next book

  5. As someone who came to Cairns for 2 years, fell in love with the area and so far been here for 30 years, I was excited to be chosen to review “Whitsunday Dawn”. This story is set in the Whitsundays alternating between the present and the 1940’s.
    The story starts with Olivia Sheridan (Liv) arriving on Hamilton island. Nearly straight away she crosses paths with Aunty Tat and Captain Jay. These three are the main characters in a tale that starts slowly but builds up speed
    This is a story of family, of betrayal, of mystery and romance. Most of all it is a story of following your heart and finding your place in the world. Annie Seaton’s descriptive style of writing transports you to the Whitsundays. The 1940’s parts of this novel made me aware of just how involved Australia was in the world, and how close it was to the areas many of us live in. I loved that I knew many of the places visitedin both eras
    Another positive of this book was the important message that we need to protect our natural resources. The battle between developers and environmentalists is a central theme and something that Liv comes to terms with as the characters and storyline develops
    Despite a gentle start, I soon became engrossed in the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although it is easy to read, it deals with some deep themes. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read “Whitsunday Dawn”. It was a pleasure to read and I would recommend it

  6. I really enjoyed this book and it was interesting to see how it was all going to work out. Olivia Sheridan is the main present day character of this book and we follow her story as she arrives in The Whitsundays to give a presentation to the local community about the coal loader that her father’s company want to build in a nearby bay. She blindly does what her father wants and doesn’t really look into the consequences. I wasn’t really a fan of her at the start of the book but she ends up changing a lot. The other main characters Aunty Tat and Captain Jay are also great characters. Aunty Tat has lived in the area her whole life and the story jumps back and forth from present day to the Ellis Family during the war and the circumstances behind Aunty Tat’s sister’s disappearance. The story has some mystery behind it which I kinda of guessed but didn’t know how it all happened. I also enjoyed the environmental aspect of it.
    I think it’s a good all round story with elements of romance, mystery and history.
    I look forward to reading more of Annie Seaton’s books.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

  7. “Whitsunday Dawn” was a must read for me due to the location of the story and the beautiful cover. I have visited Hamilton Island and the Whitsundays a few times so was keen to read a novel based in the area.

    Annie Seaton’s novel had a bit of everything romance, danger, history and family ties and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The novel starts with a chance encounter while our main character Olivia (Liv) Sheridan is walking from the airport on Hamilton Island to her room at the resort. An elderly lady called Aunty Tat who suffers with dementia calls out and follows Liv convinced she is her missing sister. Through this encounter we also introduced to Byron and the smelly fisherman aka Capt Jay.

    I found the story a little bit slow to start while we were getting the back story and finding out why Liv was in the Whitsundays but the story quickly gained momentum and I was hooked when I discovered the parallel story line set in 1942 during the war. I wanted to know what happened to Lilana (Lily) Aunty Tat’s sister that went missing 60 years ago. This seamlessly worked with the real time storyline of Liv who was present in the Whitsundays representing her Father’s company regarding a mining project, one not popular with the locals including Capt Jay.

    The locations were described so vividly and were like another character of the story and it was easy to imagine where the story was taking place. It made me want to book another trip to the islands! I found the writing easy to read and look forward to reading more from Annie Seaton as this was the first one I had read of hers.

    Thank you to Harlequin Books and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this lovely novel.

  8. Whitsunday Dawn by Annie Seaton is a wonderful book about family, love, history and danger. As the title suggests the story is set in the Whitsundays.
    The story begins in the present where we meet Olivia (Liv) Sheridan who has come to the Whitsundays as the PR person for her father’s company Sheridan Corp. a company whose plans for the area are not supported by many of the locals.
    When Olivia arrives on Hamilton Island she crosses paths with Aunty Tat, an old lady suffering from dementia, who mistakes her for her long lost sister ‘Lil’ Liliana, who disappeared during the war.
    It’s in the parallel story that we are transported back to the 1940’s and meet a young Aunty Tat, ‘Tatiana’ and her sister Liliana and their family.
    I loved the characters, especially Olivia. When we first meet her. She is a determined young lady who works hard in trying to gain her father’s respect and appreciation. Unfortunately she realises the hard way that her father only loves his business and will do anything to achieve his goals. She then teams up with the locals to save the Whitsundays from her father and the developers.
    I loved this book and enjoyed learning more about the Whitsundays.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

  9. I absolutely loved this book the moment I picked it up. My first book by Annie Seaton and a brilliant read. Thank you beauty and lace and Harlequin books for the opportunity to read Whitsunday Dawn.

    This book had me guessing to the end with the mystery of events of history and the present. I didn’t want the book to end.

    The way everything was described was so beautiful and surreal I felt like I was there experiencing it all. I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a good romance/mystery and a bit of danger.

    I look forward to reading more books from Annie Seaton in the future.

  10. I loved this book, one of my favourites I have read recently. I loved reading about the Australian landscape and the beauty surrounding the Australian waters.
    The love story between the two main characters was cute.
    Congratulations Annie Seaton on a wonderful book.

  11. Whitsunday Dawn was a story I didn’t want to end. From the moment I picked it up I just had to know what happened next.

    I loved the way the story switched from the present to the past and I usually do not like this at all!

    I found myself wanting to know more about the history of the Whitsundays and wishing I could visit!

    An amazing read! I cannot wait to see what is next!

  12. This was my first Annie Seaton novel and I will be looking for more from her
    I loved this book. Her description of the Whitsundays made you feel as if you were there.
    The switching at times between modern day to war time was a little tricky to keep up with then it all came together beautifully.
    I loved that it covered romance, danger, mystery etc all in one book. It was a well written beautiful story. I loved the main character Liv being a strong minded independent woman.
    Thanks for choosing me to read this book Beauty and Lace and Harlequin boos. I enjoyed every minute iof this book and look forward to more Annie Seaton novels.

  13. Whitsunday Dawn is beautifully written and I felt as if I was on the islands and experiencing the adventures myself. The way the islands and landscapes are described really pulls you into the story.
    Because of this I now have the Whitsundays on my wish list of holiday destinations.
    The history of the islands is fascinating.
    I just loved the way the storyline weaves the past and present together keeping you captivated and wanting to know more.
    I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more of Annie Seatons novels.

  14. This is my first time reading Annie seatons it won’t be my last I love it I want to go to Whitsundays now.
    the way she describe it was so beautiful

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