My Coffee Pot Bookclub Guest: Catherine Meyrick and Cold Blows the Wind

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About the Book

Book Title:  Cold Blows the Wind

Author: Catherine Meyrick

Publication Date: 28 April

Publisher: Courante

Page Length: 425

Genre: Historical Fiction,
Biographical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Australian Fiction

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.

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Read An Excerpt

slammed through the door into the kitchen, pulling the pins from her hat, her
light brown hair tumbling down.

are there so many bloody useless loafers in this town?’ She stabbed the hatpins
back into her hat and placed it on the battered sideboard alongside her
mother’s hat, the pile of her father’s old newspapers and an assortment of
other bits and pieces no one could work out where to put.

turned from the stove, a gleam of amusement in her dark eyes. ‘What’s happened,
my love?’

Rogers and his mates, outside the Rob Roy, giving me lip.’ Ellen ran her
fingers through her thick hair and twisted it back into a neatish knot.

you gave them a piece of your mind,’ her father said from behind his week-old

Her two
youngest sisters, Alice and Jane, sitting at the end of the table, paused their
game of cat’s cradle and watched, trying not to grin.

did.’ Ellen raised her chin. ‘No one messes with a Thompson.’

Her father looked over his paper, his hazel eyes fierce. ‘They do not.’

Mrs Bryce,’ Ellen said, pushing the last of her hairpins into place, ‘had me
blacking the fireplaces. She said there wasn’t enough ironing today, so it was
either do the fireplaces or not get paid at all. Said it like she was doing me
a favour.’

money, Ellen.’ Dad lowered his newspaper.

Dad, look at my hands.’ She held them out. ‘Her and her blasted fireplaces.
Next thing she’ll have me emptying her piss pot.’

father raised his voice. ‘Language, girl.’

can talk.’

‘I’m an
old man—I can say and do as I like.’ He lifted his paper again. ‘You’re little
more than a young wench.’

he couldn’t see her, Ellen poked her tongue out.

and Alice stared at each other, stifling their giggles.

two years younger than Ellen, sat by the window, her attention on the seam of
the underbodice she was mending.

back to the room, Mam stirred the large pot simmering on the stove. ‘You
haven’t given her a piece of your mind and lost the job?’

but it’s beyond me why these old women can’t do their own housework like the
rest of us.’

wouldn’t have a job if they did.’ Mary Ann, her elder sister, walked in and
dumped her hat beside Ellen’s.

Ann was so damned practical.

haven’t spent the day cleaning fireplaces. Do you know how many fireplaces that
house has?’

are days where I think I’d prefer cleaning fireplaces to dusting china dogs and
vases.’ Mary Ann pulled a face and said in a plummy voice, ‘That plate is
Wedgwood, my dear. It is worth more than you are ever likely to earn in a

the point of that?’ Alice asked.

Ann shrugged. ‘It’s pretty, but not much use if you can’t eat off it.’ She
raised an eyebrow, grinning. ‘So what are her unmentionables like?’

big enough to make a sail for a clipper.’

some respect,’ Dad laughed.


About the Author

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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