Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blog Tour Guest Post from Sherryl Caulfield, Author of Seldom Come By

Please join me in welcoming author Sherryl Caulfield to Let Them Read Books! Sherryl is touring the blogosphere with the first book in her Iceberg Trilogy, Seldom Come By, and today she joins us to discuss this historical romance set in Newfoundland on the eve of WWI. Read on to learn more about the icebergs that inspire Sherryl and her heroine, Rebecca, and enter to win one of five autographed copies of Seldom Come By!

Many people are surprised to discover my novel is set in Newfoundland, a harsh climate on the edge of the Atlantic, frozen and wind-pummelled for many months of the year. In 1914, two years after the sinking of the Titanic, Newfoundland was once again in the news after two nautical accidents claimed the lives of 251 sealers. The place should almost come with its own warning sign. It doesn’t strike you as a romantic place of grandeur or intrigue or conflict in the traditional sense. Yet it is and it was. For off the coast of Newfoundland are icebergs – treacherous icebergs, yes – but magnificent icebergs all the same – white towering peaks piercing the skyline, aqua blue meltwater trailing down glittering sides, mythical creatures revealed in icy magnitude.

For me, and my soon to be fifteen-year-old heroine, Rebecca Crowe, icebergs represent something magical; a sign of lightness in the darkness, a sign of hope and endless possibilities. For Rebecca icebergs are the most exciting spectacle in the months of monotony and mediocrity that mark her year. In the spring of 1914, Rebecca, who lives and breathes longing, is looking out to sea, yearning for an iceberg, multiple icebergs, when she discovers a shipwrecked sailor and her world is never the same again.

Nineteen-year-old Samuel Dalton, near death, with his blonde straggly hair and his out-of-this-world smile and his far-flung experiences and talk of nude Rodin sculptures and the teal waters of the Caribbean, is like no one Rebecca has ever imagined, let alone met. The summer Samuel stays with them, recovering from his misadventure at sea, ignoring requests from his brother, Matthew, to come home to Toronto, is the most exciting summer of Rebecca’s life. And then war breaks out.

Newfoundland, as a British Dominion, automatically joins the fray, and Canada enters the conflict days later, thinking it will be over in mere months but as we now know, it dragged on for four entrenched years. In the summer of 1916 in the battle of the Somme, Newfoundland would go on to suffer a casualty rate of 90 per cent, losing their best and brightest.

The devastating experiences of Newfoundland and Canada in WWI are a backdrop to Seldom Come By as seen through the eyes of doctors. The Daltons are a medical family, with Matthew being good friends with John McCrae, Canadian physician and author of the famous poem, In Flanders Field. This is one of my favourite poems and I was delighted to be able to bring him into the novel in this way. Poets, Henry Wadsworth and Walt Whitman, also feature. In researching this novel, I came across The Canadian Medical Association Journal. Every issue as far back as 1908 was online, adding immense authenticity to this story, including the calamity of Hospital City. Lethal mustard gas was a feature of the war, choking and blinding its victims. Antibiotics and penicillin were in their nascent stages and blood transfusions only became a feature of medical treatment in 1918.

Seldom Come By is a coming of age love story set in this tumultuous time, yet it’s also a story of the bonds of brotherhood – real brotherhood – in war. And in war, no one comes through unscathed.

One reviewer summed it up as: the epic tale of love, loss, forgiveness and healing.

It certainly is epic in scope. It’s a story of unexpected, blissful, all-encompassing, all-powerful first love told through the eyes of both the hero and heroine. It’s a tale of love tested and salvaged, of forgiveness being the key to healing.

In his book, Bono on Bono, the U2 front man is asked: ‘What leaves you speechless?’

His reply: ‘Forgiveness. Being forgiven.’

Grace is at the heart of this novel.

Seldom Come By is named after an actual place in Newfoundland and is book 1 of The Iceberg Trilogy. It’s available in print and eBook format. Full details at: www.sherrylcaulfield.com. A New Zealand blogger recently wrote about Seldom Come By. ‘If there is one book to take a risk on this year - make it this one. I did, and I have been richly rewarded.’  Take a risk!

Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, fifteen-year-old Rebecca Crowe’s fascination with icebergs leads her to save a shipwrecked survivor, Samuel Dalton, the nineteen-year old son of a Toronto medical family.

Love sparks in the crystal cave of an iceberg but is thwarted by an unreasonable father and the Great War that drags Samuel and his brother, Matthew, to the Western Front as medical officers. Knowing Rebecca is home and safe in Newfoundland brings Samuel great comfort. But as the war moves towards its final harrowing days, they both discover that tragedy and terror can strike anywhere, setting their love on an unforeseen path.

Only when Samuel and Rebecca can fully come to terms with such devastating loss and their impossible choices can their love soar. With an emotional intensity reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman, Seldom Come By, named after an actual place in Newfoundland, is an unforgettable journey across waves and time and the full spectrum of human emotions.

About the Author

Australian-born Sherryl Caulfield is a marketer, writer and traveller. After twenty years working for some of the world’s leading technology brands and a stint with Outward Bound, she longed to write about the human experience and the redemptive qualities of nature.

In 2006, haunted by an encounter with a woman she met in Canada, Sherryl started what has now become known as The Iceberg Trilogy. From her home in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, she distilled the lives of three generations of women – Rebecca, Evangeline and Lindsay – over the course of a century. In the telling of their stories she crafted a series rich in landscapes – of sea, land and the human soul.

For more information please visit Sherryl Caulfield’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Seldom Come By is on a blog tour!


  1. I love books that take place in unusual settings and this one sounds like a winner! I have added it to my TBR list.

    1. Hi Terry, I too love books set in unusual and striking settings, particularly ones so different to where I'm currently living. I hope you enjoy Seldom Come By!

  2. Hi Jenny,

    I just did the tweet in the Rafflecopter and it mentions The War Nurse not Seldom Come By. Thought you should know.

    1. Thank you, Terry! I'll look into it right now!

  3. Sherryl, this would be a lovely giveaway for the Canadian Book Challenge #8 at John's Book Mine Set blog... just a thought!
    Thanks for your generous celebration!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you so much for that suggestion, Faith. All new to me. I had a peek and that blog looks great too.

  4. Thank you so much Jenny for having me on your blog today and what a way you have with design - the post looks beautiful!

  5. Thanks to Faith, Hope, and Cherrytea for her recommendation above. (I didn't put her up to it, I swear!). I certainly want to read it. Sounds quite interesting.

    Small comment about the "a harsh climate on the edge of the Atlantic, frozen and wind-pummelled for many months of the year" thing. It can be, for sure, but that's a bit much. It's mostly just a stunningly beautiful place and the weather can be quite lovely. Having grown up there, I suppose I'm biased, but after moving to Canada's North in my adulthood, I can safely say that "harsh" is relative!

    1. Hey John, great to hear from you and to know you are from Newfoundland. :-) You will be pleased to know that in Seldom Come By the summer of 1914 is as you have written: a stunningly beautiful place and the weather quite lovely. I hope you enjoy the read and I look forward to spending time on your blog :-)


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