– OF CHANCE AND COINCIDENCE
AMATI – OF CHANCE AND
This first novel in the Amati
series by Andrew Ryan, dramatically, yet poignantly illustrates how one mans
passion to finally become the proud owner of an Amati violin, becomes
intricately involved in the lives of three other people onboard a passenger
liner en-route to Australia in 1885.
Set against the strict soul-crushing modes of the nineteenth century, it
reveals how two people in love, struggle to find the courage to freely
exercise their right to personal expression in a society hostile to
Fear of being humiliated for side-stepping the accepted rules of social
behaviour, a dying mans life-long wish to be reunited with his family, and
the benevolent compassion of a widowed Australian, combine to illustrate how
chance and coincidence so easily, yet subconsciously, weaves its way through
each of the characters lives, thus forming the fabric of this haunting and
In Store Price: $24.00
Online Price: $10.00 (reduced for
clearance – stock limited)
Number of pages:
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published: December 2003
Described as an innovative and creative chef by an
international gourmet critic in one of Western Australias leading newspapers,
Andrew Ryan finally set aside his professional cooking skills to retire in the
cool regions of Western Australia. He readily admits that writing had always
been an ardent passion of his, and now feels deeply privileged to at last have
the time to release that creative part of his makeup. He now lives a solitary, but rewarding life as an author, the
father of two children, and the proud grandfather of two beautiful little girls,
all to whom he bequeaths his writing as a lasting symbol for his deep respect
for the power and beauty of the written word.
ONE (part sample)
train for London was scheduled to depart the Brighton railway station at eight
oclock that particular morning in April 1885. As usual Hetti, the ageing and
faithful housekeeper for more years than Charles could remember, was already
busying herself with the days chores. Firstly, preparing breakfast for the
family, then making last minute checks to make sure Charles had everything
packed in readiness for a journey she had always hoped he would never take.
satisfied there was nothing else she could do, she sighed deeply, then as usual
whenever her sentiments got in the way of her duties, bit her lip, shook her
head as though it was the panacea for all problems, straightened her back as
much as her dowagers hump would allow, then set about protecting her image
with an air of indifference. Everyone in the family knew it was an act she put
on in order to keep her place as a servant, but for Hettis sake, and her sake
only, the family went along with it just the same. She was, as she had confessed
many times over the years, a dyed-in-the-wool stickler for custom, and
nothing on Gods earth could ever change that. Though, with the dawning of
this day she doubted her ability to maintain that strict stance, when she knew
that this was the day to farewell Charles, and she feared it was probably for
the last time in her life.
knew and loved him as if he were her own son. She was on hand at the time of his
birth, and all the years that followed. Now faced with the pangs of separation,
it all seemed for nothing. She now realized how foolish she had been, to believe
that this grown man with passions of his own, would still be around when she
took her last breath.
light shower of rain had fallen, leaving small puddles dotted here and there on
the railway station platform, and from a break in the clouds a streak of weak
sunlight struggled to brighten the day. Charles had hardly noticed. His mind was
still struggling, coming to terms with the complete and utter breakdown of
Hettis staunch regimen for convention.
tear first appeared in one eye, a telltale sign that her defence had been
breeched. Soon, the face that had always portrayed an image of staunchness and
courage, could deny no longer the pent-up emotions that had always been there.
Tears filled the crevices of her ageing face and she reached out to him, burying
her head in his vest.
response was natural and warm.
felt the strength of his arms encircle her frail body, and then with a robust
hug that went back through the years, she felt the depth of his sincerity warm
her heart. She sighed but did not straighten herself or dare shake her head, for
she could not. He had stepped back
to cup her face in his hands. He smiled, and then lowered his head to tenderly
kiss her thin cheeks. Words were not necessary. The expression on his face said
took hold of his hands and held them against her bosom, and then raising them
slowly to her face, she lingered for a moment to savour the extraordinary
display of affection that passed between them. Then raising his hands to her
lips, she kissed the sensitive tips of his fingers in a rare demonstration of
her esteem for his musical talent. At that sad, yet poignant moment, she knew
there was nothing she could say or do to help change his mind. A lifetime of
serving him was nearing its end. The
brutal reality of his departure was too much for her and she turned and quietly
left the room. It was the last time
he saw her.
months before this day, he had made a decision, knowing full well that the
consequences of following it through would test his ability to become a
successful musician, in a country very different from his native England. He was
now twenty-six years of age, and except for a short trip to Italy the year
before, he had never travelled overseas, let alone to Sydney, Australia.
had not been an easy decision for Charles. It meant leaving behind everything
that was familiar to him, and more importantly, an affectionate and devoted
family. In Charles way of thinking, that always included Hetti.
he first advised his parents that he was contemplating accepting the position of
concertmaster for the opera companys first overseas tour in Australia, the
news affected them deeply. They were shocked, and applied every means at their
disposal to try talking him out of it, but it had not worked for them.
suspected that something must have happened whilst he was in Italy for him to
become so restless. His usual bright disposition had changed, leaving them
feeling bewildered. It was not that he had become moody or indifferent; it was
something deeper than that, and whenever they tried to get him to talk about it,
he would quickly change the subject, telling them they would not understand.