American Woman Meets Tongan King and Finds Love in New Novel

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Invited by Tonga’s king to develop a spiny lobster farm in the sea, June Sandusky is unprepared for the island’s sexism, to have her old relationship wounds reopened, or for the tropical storm brewing inside and outside her in Jan Walker’s new novel.

Readers can discover 1960s Tonga through the eyes of an American woman, and experience the beauty, hospitality, friendships, and life-threatening natural disasters that change her life in Jan Walker’s new novel “A Farm in the South Pacific Sea” (ISBN 9780982820520, Plicata Press, 2011).

“But there must be some mistake. You are a woman.” So begins June Sandusky’s adventure in the South Pacific. Although she has been invited by the King of Tonga to develop a spiny lobster farm in the sea, her name—a calendar month—led the Privy Council to assume she would be a man. As an American woman in the 1960s, June is unprepared for the sexism she experiences on the island, or the men who will awaken her buried feelings.

June begins her work in Tonga when a sea captain, Tavita, takes her on a handicrafts buying trip and site search. Although married to a Tongan woman who lives in religious seclusion, Tavita finds himself strangely attracted to the American woman. June equally feels the attraction but stays focused upon her work, settling on Mango Island where she will live in a palm frond house without running water or electricity, and construct an enclosure in the sea for her lobster farm.

But even immersed in her work, June must deal with men, including her chief diver, the bronzed Adonis, Tomasi. While the island women and children adopt June as one of their own, she continues to have difficulty dealing with the men, a difficulty increased by her memories of a past abusive relationship. When a cyclone rips through the islands, June finds herself facing decisions she never expected.

Based on the adventures of the author’s cousin, “A Farm in the South Pacific Sea” reflects Walker’s skill at turning history into intriguing historical fiction. The Midwest Book Review raves that the book is “entertaining until the very end.” Jerome Gold, author of “Paranoia and Heartbreak,” says the novel is “filled with engaging characters, not only June, a woman clearly at odds with her time, but the men she loves and the women she befriends.” And Paige Lovitt of Reader Views states, “I found myself totally wrapped up in June’s story. The author Jan Walker made me feel like I was walking on the beach alongside June.” “A Farm in the South Pacific Sea” will have readers saying, “James Michener, move over! Nellie Forbush is no match for June Sandusky.”

About the Author
Jan Walker, a retired community college teacher, grew up and still lives on the Kitsap Peninsula, the sinuous land mass that sits in the center of Puget Sound, with Seattle and the Cascade Mountains to the east, Hood Canal and the Olympics to the west. Characters living, surviving, and thriving on land that meets the sea is a recurring theme in her writing. Her settings range from McNeil Island in South Puget Sound, home of the correctional center where she taught male offenders, to Mango Island in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga. Walker is the founder and editorial director of Plicata Press, a small press featuring authors from the area.

“A Farm in the South Pacific Sea” (ISBN 9780982820520, Plicata Press, 2011) can be purchased through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit Publicity contact: Review copies available upon request.


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