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“JO by Nigel Wyndham”

Author, Viedelle Smith

Story Brief:

Available on the Kindle Only

JO by Nigel Wyndham
by Viedelle Smith
GM Books

Reviewed by J. Duffield

“And then his voice turned into a solemn but deliberate whisper. ‘I am betrothed to another, my love.'”

Smith has crafted a well-written historical romance, based on historic facts. The novel is produced as a story within a story. Newspaper man, Nigel Wyndham, upon hearing Josephine Mary’s tale of unfair imprisonment and subsequent banishment to Sydneytowne, vows to tell the world her story. Born in New York in 1764, Josephine witnesses English felons working alongside black slaves. When Jo’s brother runs off to join the Northern troops, Jo runs away to find him–infuriating her father, Victor. Jo finds her brother dead on a battlefield, and English Sergeant Brian Eagan is ordered to protect her.

Brian and Jo fall in love, but their romance is forbidden by Victor. Heartbroken, Jo travels to England to find Brian–only to discover that he is betrothed to another. The strong-willed Jo runs away again and is taken in by Susie and Sean, the latter of whom is an Irish political activist. Jo’s world collapses when she is found guilty of treason by association and sent to the Australian women’s prison in Sydneytowne. She could never have imagined that her life in Australia would be made even more difficult by the resurgence of Brian, who is determined to win her back one way or another.

The author writes with a great familiarity of both dialect and history. The vivid settings Smith creates bring the reader deep into the world of war and imprisonment. Female readers will especially empathize with Jo’s plight as a woman with very little say in her own future. Bound by so many men, Jo attempts to make the best of each of the situations she finds herself in. In the end, she proves to be the strongest character of all—surviving challenges that even the most controlling and cruel men in her life cannot manage. The story of Josephine’s harrowing life is an engaging, emotional read. The heroism and perseverance she shows in the face of such adversity makes her an excellent role model for women and girls alike. Her story is not only timely but arguably needed, which would translate well to the big screen.



I am in complete awe of this book! It truly is flawless with great, well drawn characters that I became thoroughly vested in – meticulously researched history that comes to exciting life within this carefully crafted presentation. This is LITERATURE encased in a compelling, easy to read novel that should be at the top of everyone’s reading list.

Roberta Fresh – Valley Glen Bi-Monthly Newspaper-2014.

“JO” is a sweeping drama filled with romance and adventure that grabs the reader from page one. Filled with colourful characters, Viedelle Smith takes us on an epic journey through early America; London; finally unravelling against the vast expanse of an unchartered continent. It reminds me of the historical epics Hollywood used to make.

John-Michael Howson – OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) Fairfax Radio Australia, Writer, Reporter, Entertainer-2014.

One of the most exceptional stories I’ve ever read. Completely engrossing: meticulously researched: rich in characters and storytelling. A historical masterpiece filled with fictional and non-fictional characters – an exciting comparative to, “Gone With the Wind,” a MUST on every avid reader’s book-list! I’m already envisioning top international actors who I will want to cast in key roles. Every character, a gem. With extraordinary writing, each setting will make JO an epic on the screen today, and for all future generations to come!

Melissa Skoff – Casting Director, Producer, Acting Coach-2014.

JO – thumbs up! Riveting: a powerful tour de force: a page-turner of exciting fictional characters amongst colourful non-fictional happenings during times when women were to be seen and not heard: a story that captures the hearts and souls of every reader as our leading lady takes us on a historical journey of unrequited love – to chaos – to finally reaching her own self-proclaimed sovereignty.

Brian Leonard – Composer, Violin Master, World Renowned Concert Violinist-2014.

By clarezview on September 21, 2015 Format: Paperback I hope this book is the first of a series about this wonderful heroine, Jo. I believe this book gives young women of today a true heroine…a young girl who becomes a woman of strength and remarkable character as she confronts the consequences of her own choices and the unrelenting systems that condemn her for them.

Viedelle Smith is a brilliant storyteller that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride in this extraordinary novel. She uses her pen like a brush painting sweeping strokes of reality into her vivid scenes-we see the lush forest of the English country side and feel the scorching heat of the land down under. Our leading lady is forced into an unmanageable life of degrading hardship, survival and redemption and through it all redefines the meaning of courage. If ever a novel belongs on the silver screen it is this epic masterpiece by Veidelle Smith.

By Gardner Doolittle – Filmmaker Review on October 4, 2015 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

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