Whispers through Time
Part true, part fiction, Whispers through Time, the first novel of a Time trilogy, is based on the lives of my grandparents, Walter and Winifred. Their lives spanned the twentieth century, encompassing the Boer Wars, the end of the Victorian age, Titanic tragedy and two world wars.
The book was inspired by the family research of my sister, Heady.
In the book, she is the present day grand- daughter trying to reconstruct the past and solve its mysteries. The story moves between past and present paralleling her discoveries with what really happened.
In the past, the personalities, dreams and motivations of Winifred and her family are introduced in a series of snapshot chapters. Beginning in 1905 when Winifred and her sister, Francescsa are teenagers, the story constructs their world and the reasons why they decide five years later to emigrate to Australia.
First Oscar, their brother runs off without trace and then Gustave their younger brother joins the Royal Fusiliers. Francesca has an unhappy love affair, Winifred is restless and as they see their brothers leave home, they long for adventure themselves. Already facing parental opposition to their plan, the tragedy of the Titanic further casts a shadow over their dreams.
However, despite this complication, the girls depart for Australia and though fearful, realise before long that it was after all a great idea. They enjoy Lisbon port and make friends onboard with Edwina their cabin mate and two young men, Walter and Winston. It is suspected that beautiful Francesca is the attraction, but instead Walter is secretly fascinated by the bookish but pretty Winifred. Romance blossoms thanks to an albatross and Winifred and Walter arrive together in Sydney, at the gateway to their futures.
The nature of time is an ever-present theme that waxes and wanes like a tide throughout lives. There are the what if moments, the only if moments and the sad reality that past and present generations can never meet, forever separated by Time.