Neill Florence Announces Release of ‘Pursuit of Happiness’

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First book in trilogy is about young servant, army deserter’s love story despite difficulties.

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When Neill Florence’s wife was doing research on her family background, she came across some letters in old German writings to which he had translated. These letters inspired Florence to write “Pursuit of Happiness” (published by Balboa Press AU), the first book in a trilogy. It is a historical novel set in 19th century Germany about a young, beleaguered servant and an army deserter who fall in love despite the difficulties they face.

It is 1873, and 23-year-old Gretchen Haager is a victim of the formidable Frau Sandenberg, who is applying medieval rules for the servants working in her household at the Gluckmutter Villa. When Georg Shillenberg delivers coal to the villa, he witnesses her plight, feels a strong compassion for her, and helps her escape to her family’s farm. When the Frau discovers that Georg is a deserter from Bismarck’s army, she notifies an army officer of his whereabouts, and her vindictiveness only increases once she realizes that Gretchen is gone as well. Meanwhile, Georg and Gretchen fall in love and attempt to start a new life together, in spite of the fact that Georg must remain in hiding. But the Frau continues to push the authorities to hunt the fugitive, to the point of accusing him of murder. Now, only time will tell whether the young family can escape police pursuit and get themselves safely away to the distant shore of another land.

“This book shows the triumph of ordinary people over the determination of government and the ruling class to keep ordinary people in their place and administer severe punishments when they step out of line,” Florence says. “In the 19th century, it was a matter of conventional wisdom that the lower class needed close monitoring by the ruling class and often the lower class accepted their lot without complaint, but the vindictive oppression of Frau Sandenberg in the first part of the book and the unhappy consequences of the captain’s disciplinary measures in the second part of the book cry out for retaliation.”

An excerpt from the book:
Gustav Shillingbaum don’t you dare blame yourself for what’s happened. It’s the Villafrau alone who stands accused. We have fallen victim to the power of one demented woman who has corrupted those who were supposed to protect us.’ ‘Well I hope we end up in a country then where one person will never have such vindictive power and the freedom of all its people is guaranteed.

“Pursuit of Happiness”
By Neill Florence
Softcover | 6 x 9in | 268 pages | ISBN 9781504310024
E-Book | 268 pages | ISBN 9781504310031
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Neill Florence is now 85 years old and lives with his wife, Ellen, in Queensland, Australia. He retired from his teaching career in 1988 after spending five years teaching in primary schools and 31 years in high schools teaching mainly English and history. He served as principal in various Queensland high schools for the last 18 years of his high school teaching career. He started writing after he retired. He joined the Capricorn Coast writers’ group and wrote short stories and poems for the group’s annual publications and one act plays for the Yeppoon Little Theatre. He also wrote several novels for distribution within his family. He has five children, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Balboa Press Australia is a division of Hay House, Inc., a leading provider in publishing products that specialise in self-help and the mind, body and spirit genre. Through an alliance with indie book publishing leader Author Solutions, LLC, authors benefit from the leadership of Hay House Publishing and the speed-to-market advantages of the Author Solutions self-publishing model. For more information or to start publishing today, visit or call 1800 050 315. For the latest, follow @balboapress on Twitter and “Like” us at

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