A New World (Book 1 of the series ‘Carly Mills, Pioneer Girl’) excerpt
by Jane Smith
Published by Big Sky Publishing, 2020
Below is an extract from A New World. In chapter 1, country girl Carly Mills is in Sydney with her new friend Dora. She has just found an old shawl, and when she put it around her shoulders, everything went dark.
When the light returned, everything had changed. It was as if someone had switched stations on the radio; the sounds were completely different. The whooshing of cars, the honking of horns, the rumble of buses and the beeping of traffic lights had all gone. They had been replaced by the clopping of horses’ hooves and the rattling of carriages. Carly gazed about with an open mouth. The glassy skyscrapers had all disappeared! In their place were low sandstone buildings, golden and grand. The traffic lights had vanished. There was also an odd smell in the air: horse poo.
Carly gazed about in a panic. Dora wasn’t there. What on earth is going on? She had a vague feeling that it had something to do with the shawl around her shoulders. Carly wondered if she should be scared. Everything was so strange! And yet … she felt more excited than afraid.
She stepped onto the road. No one took any notice of her. She took a deep breath – she was used to the smell of horse poo – and crossed the road. She wandered down the street, gaping at the sights.
‘Hello there,’ said a posh English voice. ‘Are you lost?’
Carly spun around. A lady smiled at her.
She was tall and dressed in a long, brown gown with a white lace collar and white frills at her wrists. She had pale skin and grey eyes and reddish-brown hair that hung in ringlets at each side of her face. She was carrying a big carpetbag that made Carly think of Mary Poppins.
‘Um,’ said Carly. Confusion had taken her voice away.
‘Never mind, dear,’ the woman said. Her voice was warm and musical, but firm. ‘I’ll look after you. Have you just come in on a ship?’
‘… er …’ said Carly.
‘You poor dear – it’s frightening, isn’t it? You do look awfully young to be travelling alone. I suppose you haven’t any parents. Come with me – come, come, don’t worry.’
The woman strode off, leaving Carly stunned by the side of the road. Then the woman stopped and turned back. ‘But where’s your luggage? Oh, never mind, we’ll find you supplies. Heavens!’ she put a gloved hand to her mouth. ‘Where are my manners? I haven’t introduced myself. My name is Mrs Chisholm. Caroline Chisholm.’
‘I’m Carly,’ Carly croaked. ‘Carly Mills.’
‘Well, Carly,’ Caroline Chisholm smiled and clasped her hands together. ‘Welcome to Australia.’