In the genre Australian Historical Fiction, The Australian Sandstone Series highlights life in the colony of New South Wales in the nineteenth century.
Unbound Justice, Unshackled and Succession, the first three books, span 37 years of Sydney in the second half of the 19 century. They follow the fortunes of 20-year-old John Leary, who in 1850 leaves his rural home in Ireland and sails as an assisted immigrant to the Colony of New South Wales.
This is the first and Amazon ranked International Best Seller Australian Historical Fiction novel: a new, magnificent view of nineteenth-century Sydney from the ground up.
John Leary boards ship in Ireland in 1850, a young carpenter ambitious for a new life in Australia. He sails with revenge in his heart—his beloved sister has been raped by her landlord, William Baxterhouse, who escapes on another ship with even grander plans for success in New South Wales.
In Sydney, hard workers like Leary and ruthless newcomers like Baxterhouse find a city fired by the Gold Rush and dedicated to creating the finest buildings in the colony. Leary has a double motive to make his construction company succeed: he has fallen in love with the beautiful Clarissa McGuire, whose family despise him, and Baxterhouse continues to rise in wealth and influence, seemingly untouchable. Meanwhile another woman, Beth O’Hare, is in love with John Leary, and he makes some hard choices—including a climactic showdown with Baxterhouse.
The second novel of The Australian Sandstone Series: continuing the saga of John Leary in nineteenth-century Sydney.
Sydney is booming in 1855 and life looks grand for John Leary: his construction dreams are coming true, his beloved wife Clarissa is expecting their first child, and, with his partner Sean Connaire, he has produced some of the city’s significant buildings. But success provokes jealousy, and a mysterious rival sabotages a vital Leary site.
John Leary cannot control his own company while his father-in-law holds a majority share, so he arranges a buyout on his own behalf—but this new, silent partner poses a serious risk to the harmony of his marriage. Meanwhile ex-convict Gerry Gleeson makes himself known to John as his uncle and helps him track down the saboteur.
Raw ambition, guilty secrets, and undercover deals—will they bring the young builder to ruin or triumph? Am Amazon best seller.
The third novel of The Australian Sandstone Series: John Leary is now a giant in the NSW building industry.
Leary Contracting must build it—the tallest hotel Sydney has ever seen. At 55, John Leary employs both his sons in his construction company, but the one he favours is his first-born, Richard. Meanwhile Richard’s half-brother, Brendan, gains the respect of the Leary workers because he has ‘bricks in his blood’.
John begins the massive hotel project, overcoming city red tape and the jabs of his fiercest competitor. The Imperial dwarfs all around it, with hundreds of workers busting their guts to finish the brutal program. Richard, charming but unreliable, marries well and dazzles the Sydney society of 1885, while Brendan proves himself tougher than he looks whenever real work is required.
John must choose which of his sons will lead Learys into the next century. Only after the Imperial is completed does he make his decision. An Amazon best seller.
The fourth novel of The Australian Sandstone Series: Featuring a major character from the first three novels.
To Irishman Gerry Riordan, a pint at the Drawbridge Hotel in Cork makes the ideal end to the working week, and one winter night in 1828 he has good reason to celebrate with his friend, Lawrence Toole—Gerry is now a certified stonemason. Next day he will deliver gold tabernacle doors to St Mary’s Cathedral, and dare to ask the beautiful Anne Donovan to marry him.
But by the next night the gold has been stolen, Lawrence Toole lies dead and Riordan is accused of theft and murder. Anne, his boss’s daughter, is the only person who believes him innocent.
Riordan escapes hanging but is transported to New South Wales. A convict in irons, with a flaming temper, he is forced to labour on the colony’s toughest project, the Great North Road. As he begins working in stone again, a charming young woman, an enigmatic overseer and two convict friends seek to open his eyes to a more promising future. Meanwhile, offenders who framed him for the crimes in Ireland are also in the colony. Is there really any hope for Gerry Riordan to rebuild his shattered dreams? An Amazon best seller.
The Fifth novel: Mysterious strangers. A mansion under scrutiny.Love reappears as a 19c woman boldly breaks moulds.
John Leary’s mansion would be a lonely place after the death of his clever and beautiful wife, Clarissa but for his little son, Richard. The tall, handsome widower spends more time entertaining Richard than he devotes to his successful business, Leary Contracting, and his partners and family are worried. Is John losing his edge in 1850s Sydney’s highly competitive building industry?
However, just as rivals are about to take advantage of John’s indifference, his spirits start to awaken. More than one person is watching his house, Golden Hall, and he suspects their motives. True, Golden Hall with its magnificent views from Point Piper is an enviable abode. And the widow Mary Harrigan, who once lived there, could be forgiven for hanging around it. But John is convinced that she and another suspicious character are after one thing: gold. And they seem to think it’s hidden in John’s house.
When Mary Harrigan enlists the lovely Catherine Ryan in her quest, John shakes off his lassitude and springs into action. He has a quest of his own, that will affect both his home and his future happiness.
The sixth novel in The Australian Sandstone Series-Nature Unleashed. Love rediscovered and Convict violence
To Jess Walsh, keeping the inn at Wiseman’s Ferry alongside her husband means coming to terms with the Hawkesbury River. It brings travellers to their doors because the ferry provides the only crossing for supplies and convict teams up to the civil engineering wonder of its time— the Great North Road. An ex-convict herself, working with her attractive daughter Deirdre beside her, Jess sees the riverside as home. Her only concern is whether Deirdre should marry stonemason Gerry Riordan and move to far-off Sydney Town.
Inn owner Solomon Wiseman, whose house and gardens complete the little settlement, depends on the Walshes to manage food supplies for the Road. These are collected under the command of Lieutenant William Dodds, with whom Jess often clashes. He is an officer—one of the powerful class that cruelly banished her to Australia twenty-one years before.
The river may bring good fortune, but it can also carry disaster and destruction, and the dense bush around Wiseman’s Ferry can hide desperate men. In 1831, death strikes close to Jess and the river becomes her enemy. Then, just as she begins to realise who her truest ally is, violence throws her life into question again, along with that of William Dodds. No sooner has life returned to Wiseman’s Ferry, when Jess is to discover the reason behind her father’s bankruptcy and tragedies, brought about by a person she holds dear. This is the story of a woman’s determination, nature’s fury and love burgeoning beside a wild and majestic river in New South Wales.
When Sean Connaire’s family moved from Ireland toSydney in the 1840s, he left behind his best friend, Dermot Spiers, and thegirl they both worshipped, Veronica Flemming. Three years later, Sean relisheshis career as a carpenter and rejoices in a grand surprise—Dermot Spiers andVonnie Flemming both reappear in New South Wales, and Vonnie is stillunmarried.
However, Sean’s old friend has hardly put his bootsunder the desk of a Sydney job when he makes a demand that rocks Sean to hiscore beliefs. Stunned, Sean says no and thus sets in train events that drivehim to drink, grief and potential ruin. Accused of a crime he did not commit,he has to watch Dermot making capital out if his losses and becoming a deviousrival in the fight for Vonnie.
Only when the colourful British lawyer and fellowdrinker, Albert Mangan, steps into the breach, do Sean’s fortunes begin tochange. Albert tears into the labyrinthine darkness of Sean’s past and uncoverswhat has pushed him to the brink of disaster. But has Sean lost his last chanceto claim the woman he loves?
Rupert Jenkins came from Liverpool to the colony ofNew South Wales as a child, but by 1837 he has lost his family yet gained avocation: he is a skilled carpenter on Sydney’s magnificent Elizabeth BayHouse. He is also a Freemason, loyal to the Masonic beliefs in equality,justice and peace—but he doesn’t hesitate to use his fists against a bully atwork, tall Irishman, Ronan O’Connell. Nor can he stand O’Connell’s Catholicmates, who back up the man’s fanatical and violent Republicanism.
So, what is Rupert to do when he meets the dangerouslyattractive, diminutive but feisty Beatrice Byrne at Casements, the timbermerchants, and finds that she is a Catholic? His ideal partner should be JuliaBold, the lovely sister of his best friend, Charles; and Beatrice seemsdestined for the suave, wealthy Kieran Casement. Social power in Sydney derivesfrom the English, the Masonic Lodge supports freedom of religion but excludesCatholics, and the Bold family provides the only intimate support Rupert enjoysin his life. If he pursues Beatrice Byrne, he may lose it all.
Meanwhile conflict still threatens at work, a fire putsRupert’s very life in danger, and hurdles continue to rise before him on therisky path to love. Ironically, one of these obstacles may be his ownprejudice, the hatred that he deplores in others but cannot conquer in himself.It takes another catastrophic fire to reveal his true direction.
Love Historical Fiction? Then this series is for you! Fans of Colleen McCullough, Ken Follett and CS Forester will relate to the Australian Historical Fiction, Unbound Justice, Unshackled and Succession, the first three books, which span 37 years of Sydney life in the second half of the 19 century. These three books, both Australian historical drama and family saga, paint a vivid picture of 19c Sydney. Love, revenge, and tragedy all play a part in the fortunes of John Leary and his family and the wide cast of friends and enemies. These three books, both Australian historical drama and family saga, paint a vivid picture of 19c Sydney. Love, revenge, and tragedy all play a part in the fortunes of John Leary and his family and the wide cast of friends and enemies.
The Series continues!
If you loved the characters in the first three booksof The Australian Sandstone Series then get set to find out more oftheir lives AND also the lives of Gerry Riordan and others. John Leary is also featured again in Book 5Quest at Golden Hall. Floods, fires, hidden gold, treachery and love allcoalesce in these next three books as the characters experience the challengesof life.
The box set is an ideal way to obtain three books atreduced prices compared to individual purchases. Go on…dive in!
Publican Judith Sampson runs a tight ship at her New Liffey hotel. The Rocks, Sydney, in 1824 is not a place for the faint-hearted. Sharp eyes and quick wits are needed to survive in this boiling cauldron of new colonials.
Judith is intrigued when a grain trader is murdered. Then, when her lodger is slain—a young and handsome American whaler—and nothing much is done, she is compelled to act. In the dangerous and debris-strewn lanes of The Rocks, street women and gamblers cross her path, but her investigation peels away the barnacles of lies and jealousy to uncover a shocking link between a pair of lovers and the murders of two men.
At the beginning...
It’s Christmastime in Sydney in 1851 and carpenterJohn Leary is spending it with his beloved sister, her husband and their littleson. John is a lucky young man, because most newcomers to the colony are ontheir own in New South Wales and have left family far behind, while they seektheir fortune in the goldfields or the risky enterprises of Sydney town.
The year before, John emigrated from Ireland with theblessing of his parents, but they disapproved of Maureen’s choices. A womanahead of her time, she went against their wishes to train as a teacher in aProtestant institution and live alone in Dublin. Even worse, she was raped byher landlord on the very eve of John’s departure from Ireland.
Here in Sydney, John vows to offer the help he couldnot give her in that crisis. Will she heal faster by confiding what happened toher, or has the marriage to Liam Forde been her pathway out of trauma? John yearnsto know how the miracle of their love and marriage occurred.
This is Maureen’s story: of how a friend and awould-be avenger came to her aid, and of her journey from shame and horror toaccepting intimacy with a man, once she mustered the courage to share the truthabout the worst day of her life.
Michael Beashel is Sydney-born, and his Irish forebears immigrated to New South Wales in 1863 and settled in Millers Point. He spent his youth in Bondi, is married and lives in Sydney’s inner-west.
Beashel was head of Asset Development for a global accommodation services company registered on the NYSE and has made his mark in some of Australia’s iconic construction companies. In Sydney, he has restored government buildings such as the Customs House and the Town Hall and completed commercial buildings in the private sector. In SE Asia, he managed a construction division that built apartments and hotels in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.
This industry—its characters, clients, trades people, designers, and bureaucrats—provides rich material for his Australian Historical fiction writing. He has an eye for the emergence of Sydney’s built form, from the early days of the colony to the present, and a love of construction. He says about his writing, ‘It’s a passion. I revel in using the building industry as a tapestry to weave a great tale seasoned with historic facts and memorable characters. Human shelter is an essential need and I suspect people have a fascination for understanding its context and construction within their societies. Australia still is a young country but there are many, many outstanding building stories.’
Beashel holds a B. App. Science (Building) from Sydney’s UTS and is a member of Writing NSW. Beashel finds his excitement in military history and Rugby. He’s sailed in Herons but leaves the racing and honours to other family members!
Unbound Justice, an Amazon ranked International Best Seller, is his first novel and the Books 2 and 3, Unshackled and Succession are all part of The Australian Sandstone Series.
Beashel has featured on Australian radio and has appeared in print in The Last Post, an international magazine for Veterans and Afloat, an Australia wide sailing magazine.
Background on Michael Beashel’s logo design
‘There’s a building industry context in the novels and there were predictable devices I could have used- carpenter’s tools, surveying equipment, cranes or building elements such as timber, bricks, metal etc., but I chose the divider.
It’s a tool for measuring and that’s essential in all building. It also happily portrays a symbol very much like the first letter of Australia.’