07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Margaret Tanner’s historical romance novels have been inspired by the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.

Wild Oats, the story from which this romantic moment comes was an EPICON 2010 Finalist.  

Captain Phillip Ashfield toasted his elevation to fatherhood, as a barrage of artillery pounded the battle scarred fields around him.

English aristocrat, Phillip Ashfield, comes to Australia to sow some “Wild Oats”.  After seducing Allison Waverley, he decides to marry an heiress to consolidate the family fortunes.  Phillip has made a fatal choice, that will not only ruin his own life, but the repercussions will be felt by the next generation.

To save Allison from the disgrace of having Phillip’s baby out of wedlock, Tommy Calvert, who has always loved Allison, marries her. Mortally wounded on the French battlefields, Tommy is found by Phillip who learns that Allison has borne him a son. He vows to claim the boy when the war is over, because his wife cannot give him an heir.

My love scene begins at The Palais Theatre, an ornate building, which still stands on the foreshore of the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda. It is October 1914, just prior to Tommy’s embarkation for the war in Europe.

The lights dimmed when the Tango was introduced. Every man in the room held his partner close. This dance had made the Palais notorious. Evil, depraved and immoral, were just a few of the descriptive words printed by the newspapers, but Allison liked it. Neither she nor Tommy could dance, but they soon copied the antics of others, and laughed and clapped as much as anyone.

The tempo of the place quietened when the saxophones in the band started up to accompany the man who sang, “If you were the only girl in the world, and I was the only boy...” They stood close together, listening, until it finished.

“Let’s leave now,” Tommy said, and Allison waited near the door as he went to collect her coat. He helped her into it, took her hand and they left.

Instead of making for the train station, Tommy led her towards the beach. It was a cool night, with dark clouds scudding across the sky, but numerous stars twinkled. The breeze blowing straight in off the sea smelt moist and salty, the soft sand caressed their feet.

They didn’t speak, just ambled away from the lighted Palais. Except for the muted sound of the waves, silence hung over the beach, and Allison felt as if they were the last two people left in the world.

Tommy stopped and drew her close. “I love you, Allison.” He started whistling the tune. “If you were the only girl in the world, and I was the only boy,” softly in her ear and she leaned her head against his chest.

A magic spell cast itself over them. She didn’t want to speak, lest the spell be broken. Some instinct from deep within warned her this moment, once it disappeared, would never come again. She closed her eyes to shut out everything except Tommy’s nearness.

Wild Oats is published by The Wild Rose Press. 


Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for sharing a magical moment with music. I remember that song being played on the family phonograph with 78 records and my mom and dad dancing to it. Thanks for a memory jog reminding me of the love they shared that lasted over 60 years.

Diana Mcc. said...

What a beautifully romantic scene! Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Raplee said...

What a beautiful,sweetly-poignant scene, Margaret - especially after reading the blurb and knowing the tragedy that awaits them. I nearly cried.