“French Sand” – a novel by Catherine Broughton
My novel, “French Sand” takes place in the 1960s on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. Despite being on an island, there is nothing Robinson Crusoe-ish about it, and it is a story of an abandoned woman and how she re-makes her life. A series of surprising events lead her to look more closely in to why she was abandoned, and result in a murder, deception and an unusual love story .
The book is aimed at women readers, but I am assured that men will enjoy it too.
New Caledonia is situated approx. 1500 kms east of Australia. Slowly manoeuvering its way to independence, it is fundamentally a French colony where French is the main language alongside the 28 – yes 28 – native languages. That’s a lot when you consider the island is no more than 20 000 square kms and the population barely 250 000 people. Virtually everybody speaks French, of course, and the people who speak some other language – usually based on Tahitian or Indonesian cultures – can number as little as 20 members of a small village ….
James Cook named the island in 1774. It was a cannibal culture of peoples we now call “Kanakas” which is, near as damn it, a generic name for Oceanic peoples. Eventually occupied by the French, the island has progressed in to one of the most exotic destinations in the world, all the while preserving its natural beauty and unadulterated scenery. Its very isolation has preserved it from hordes of tourists, though it is nonetheless a favourite destination for Australians, Japanese and – some – Americans.
As well as the Kanaka, the local people are called “Caldoche” which is a New Caledonian person of French extract – going back hundreds of years in some cases; otherwise they are the “metros”, meaning they have arrived from Metropolitan France. And neatly sandwiched between the two are the “Caledonians” – those who were born and raised there, regardless of heritage or culture.
“French Sand” centres largely around the “Commisssion du Pacific Sud”, where my father worked as a doctor of tropical disease. The Commission is now an hotel on the Baie des Citrons. In the 1960s, however, the Commission was a huge think-tank of experts from all over the world who (in a nutshell) got together to solve and resolve the variant issues of health, education and policy in the South Pacific islands.
Published by ATLA and available from Amazon and on Kindle, the book is also available from most UK and US bookstores.
Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist. She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites. Her sketches are on her web site http://www.turquoisemoon.co.uk . Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.
Click below for “A Call from France” by Catherine Broughton:-