Meet the Author

Winfreda was born in a central Brisbane hospital in Queensland during the Great Depression, two years before World War II began. The buildings of the Lady Bowen Hospital survive and now house services for the homeless. This pleases Winfreda greatly.

Even though she was physically safe, the war years made a vivid impression on Winfreda’s young mind. She worried for her Scottish grandparents living on the banks of the River Clyde. Imagination brought to life the realities of war zone newsreels and the press reports of widespread bombings for people’s everyday lives. Nightly searchlight manoeuvres lit the skies near Sandgate and trench drills with gas masks and whistles in the school grounds were not reassuring.

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The Long Shadows series is a sweeping family and friendship saga that spans the twentieth century. The three novels trace how the shadows of World War II, the Vietnam War and tribal wars in Sudan continue to take a toll on the lives of the characters many years later.

Stories of love, adventure, loss, and family secrets unfold across generations and continents, emerging through the experiences of Freya Dunbar and Alexander Marcou whose families are migrants to Australia.

At High School on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Freya from Scotland befriends Alexander, the son of a Macedonian family. The pair become soul-mate close.

Whilst mysterious circumstances intervene to separate them, their lives converge briefly over the years as they follow and expand their careers – Freya as a nurse and midwife, and Alexander as a teacher and aviator.

In the late 1990s Freya volunteers with a medical humanitarian aid organisation to work with starving children during a man-made famine in southern Sudan. By chance through a mutual friend, she meets with Alexander who is piloting for an elephant conservation project during a school holiday break.

And so begins the unravelling of the puzzles of their youth.

Past Imperfect

A resourceful daughter accepts responsibilities beyond the norm in her close but dysfunctional family. Freya Dunbar frets about the mysteries around both parents and her sense of being the odd-one-out. Her siblings appear unaffected.

When Freya meets Alexander Marcou at high school, the importance of identity issues fades. A shared understanding as migrants deepens their connection and they start to think of a future together. 

Fate plots a different outcome. Unaware of a malevolent chain of events escalating under their radar the pair are shocked by the betrayal that tears them apart permanently. Both battle bewilderment and heartache for years. Freya pursues a nursing career in Scotland.

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Alexander marries eventually, starts a family, and builds a satisfying life that combines teaching with his love of flying.

Relationship shy and unable to banish the questions and grief that bubble just below consciousness, Freya is resigned to a future without marriage and children. She immerses herself in work as a salve for the ache of loss.

Many years later when she meets Reg Prentiss, an Australian IT expert who is on a temporary contract in Glasgow, her life changes unexpectedly.

Present Tense

Lost love, new love, and lingering secrets from World War II still affect Freya as she adjusts to marriage with Reg Prentiss and her return to Australia after thirteen years in Scotland. The marriage does not last but ends amicably.

Following resolution of a spate of complicated family matters, Freya embarks on a grim challenge as a humanitarian aid volunteer during a period of extreme famine in Africa. The enduring friendships she finds along the way are an unexpected bonus.

She also develops a deep affection for the survivors of violence and hardship in the aid camp and respect for their resilience in the face of terrible loss.

The bewildering whirlwind encounter with her first love in such a place and the confusing flare of attraction raise old questions about their separation years ago.

Distressed about the dispossessed and the massive loss of lives Freya leaves for furlough in Wester Ross determined to seek personal balance and emotional peace.

Future Hope

In 1998, Freya travels to the rugged north-west of Scotland, seeking emotional healing after a stressful volunteering mission in famine-affected southern Sudan.

As her health and energy are restoring, a peculiar prophecy guides her to the discovery of family connections through new friendships and a journal penned by a relative of her Irish grandfather. During travels in Holland and Denmark secrets begin to unveil.

Against all odds there is another bitter-sweet encounter with Alexander. This time in South Africa. He is married – she knows there is no future – but they start to understand a little about the circumstances that separated them long ago.

While Freya is working on a special project for the humanitarian aid organisation there is an unexpected invitation from Alexander to meet when she returns to Scotland. Reluctantly she accepts the offer, curious to learn more about the past betrayals.

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