A Silent Ocean Away: Colette's Dominion

A Silent Ocean Away: Colette's Dominion

by DeVa Gantt


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A Silent Ocean Away: Colette's Dominion by DeVa Gantt

Charmaine Ryan knows only poverty and pain growing up. In the wake of a horrifying tragedy, she seeks a new life, and fate leads her into the private world of the wealthy Duvoisin clan. At first, it seems as if nothing terrible could touch this seemingly charmed family. But an ill wind blows through the halls and chambers of the Duvoisins' sprawling island retreat, carrying betrayal, deceit, and ominous peril.

Quickly, Charmaine is caught up in the secrets and mystique swirling around the enigmatic family. At the center are shipping tycoon Frederic Duvoisin and his youthful wife, Colette. And there is Paul Duvoisin, a dashing seducer and Frederic's bastard son, who stirs a dangerous fascination in the two women; the scheming Agatha Ward, who will not rest until she's taken Colette's place in Frederic's heart as well as in his bed; and exiled son, John, who reenters the family fold, stoking the turmoil as he unveils truths best kept hidden. Ultimately, Charmaine chooses to stand with Colette against formidable enemies, but has she made the right decision?

A sweeping, remarkable blend of adventure, romance, intrigue, and suspense, A Silent Ocean Away heralds the arrival of a glorious new voice on the historical fiction scene.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061578236
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/14/2008
Series: Colette , #1
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

DeVa Gantt is the pseudonym for coauthor sisters Debra and Valerie Gantt, career women, homemakers, and mothers. They are the authors of two previous books in the Duvoisin family saga, A Silent Ocean Away and Decision and Destiny.

Read an Excerpt

A Silent Ocean Away
Colette's Dominion

Chapter One

Friday, September 9, 1836
Richmond, Virginia

John Duvoisin watched the Raven labor from the landing stage. As her towboats released their lines, the cargo ship lost all momentum, and she sat indecisive for a moment. Then her canvas sails bellied out, harnessing the wind. She groaned as she cut across the current of the James River; her destination: three islands nestled in the northeastern waters of the West Indies. The islands, called Les Charmantes, were often considered the foundation of the Duvoisin fortune. To John, Les Charmantes meant much more. He tracked the vessel as she sailed off, and his mind meandered with the James. She was now but a toy on the wide river, and still, he stared after her as if, by mere eye contact, he could transport himself to her decks. A raging frustration had kept him from boarding the vessel this morning, his reward: bitter reflection, which chastised him for doing nothing. His internal war reached its pinnacle as the Raven traversed the river's bend and vanished from view. He drove rigid fingers through his tousled hair as if to liberate his turbulent thoughts, then strode from the bustling wharf, oblivious of Richmond's busy waterfront. He mounted his horse and turned it into the crowds, leaving thoughts of the Raven and Les Charmantes behind.

"We're moving! We're finally moving!" Charmaine exclaimed as she peered through the porthole of her small cabin. Turning, she smiled triumphantly at Loretta Harrington, who sat complacently on the only anchored chair. "Won't you come and see?"

"No, thank you, mydear," Loretta replied, returning the radiant smile. "I'll allow the ship to take care of itself and pray that my stomach does the same." It was the one reservation the middle-aged woman had about this entire trip: seasickness. But Charmaine Ryan was well worth any discomfort she might endure in the next four or five days, so she bent her mind to the task at hand. "Why don't we practice a bit more for the interview, Charmaine? It will take my mind off the rocking of the ship."

"I'm quite prepared," Charmaine replied, but she did as Loretta suggested and came and sat beside the woman who had become a second mother to her . . .

Charmaine had been welcomed into the Harrington house nearly three years ago. Marie Ryan had contacted the couple when she realized her daughter would not be talked out of her decision to leave home, and Joshua Harrington had taken an immediate liking to the sensitive yet talkative fifteen-year-old. In her large brown eyes, he saw a determination rarely found in one so young, and in her words, noted a firm conviction for what was right and good. After that first meeting, he was certain Charmaine Ryan would make an excellent companion for his wife, who sorely missed her five grown sons. He hoped the girl would become the daughter Loretta never had.

Within a fortnight, all the arrangements had been made, and Charmaine left one life behind to begin another. She moved into a pretty, whitewashed house in a residential section of Richmond, taking her meager belongings with her. She would live with the Harringtons during the week and spend the weekends with her parents.

Charmaine's only regret was leaving her mother to fend for herself. But Marie began spending more and more time at the St. Jude Refuge, drawing solace from the work there, content to shoulder the woes of others rather than dwell on her own, happy in fact. Thus, Charmaine found it strange when she grew unusually distant one weekend, surmising some misfortunate troubled her. Though Marie avoided the details, she said, "I used to think only the poor suffer, but I was wrong. Perhaps the greater the wealth, the deeper the pain."

Within the month, John Ryan decided to put a stop to his wife's "charity" work. Charmaine was determined to thwart him, thanking heaven her wages had exceeded what he'd expected her to earn and that she had had the good sense to secretly retain half. Now she insisted her mother use it. "Tell father the church is paying you," she conspired. "Then he will be happy you are working there." Sure enough, his grumbling ceased when the cold cash was placed in his hand.

Life with the Harringtons was a breath of fresh air. Under their roof, Charmaine felt secure. In this home, the husband treated his wife with respect and adoration. Joshua Harrington was everything a spouse should be. Likewise, Loretta was devoted to him. A dear and kind woman, she never had a harsh word for anyone. Charmaine benefited the most from the matron's fine character, blossoming in her affection.

"You are more than a companion to me," Loretta had said within the first year. "I consider you a part of my family, Charmaine."

Charmaine came to believe this, and it was only when the Harrington sons ventured home that she felt unhappy, envying the relationships between husbands and wives, children and parents, fathers and daughters. Although she was always included in their gatherings, Charmaine was careful to remain aloof, for this loving family didn't belong to her, not as long as her own parents lived. Her mother and father were a constant reminder of who she really was.

For two years, she guarded her background, frightened the Harringtons would send her packing if they learned the truth. Though her mother was a good woman, she was but an orphan whose only stroke of fortune had been her adoption and education at the St. Jude Refuge. Marie's parentage was probably no better than John Ryan's, and he was nothing more than white trash in the eyes of civilized Richmond gentry.

Loretta and Joshua pondered her pensive moods, which usually occurred after her visits home. They sensed she suffered, yet reasoned she needed time to overcome her reticence. Time, however, was not on Charmaine's side.

Her father confronted her one weekend. "You been workin' for them Harrin'tons gone two years now. When are they plannin' on payin' you more?"

Charmaine had received an increase, but since she continued to share half her wages with her mother, she'd set the additional money aside for herself.

"I'll ask them, Father," she blurted out, the vow apparently appeasing him.

Not so; her hasty response fed his suspicions, and for a week, he mulled it over. Then, late one Friday night, he decided to set things right. It took him a bottle of whisky to muster the courage to lumber up to the Harrington house on wobbly legs and pummel the front door. When the maid opened it, he pushed his way in, demanding to see Joshua Harrington.

A Silent Ocean Away
Colette's Dominion
. Copyright © by DeVa Gantt. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Silent Ocean Away: Colette's Dominion 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Theresa_G More than 1 year ago
I found this book on a display at Barnes and Noble and was wary of getting it. But I bought it and am certainly glad that I did. I read it within a few days and quickly started searching for the other books. This book is gripping and captivates you from the beginning I just couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen. It shows that even the seemingly most perfect families on the outside have their own share of drama while maintaining a strong bond with one another. This was a very enjoyable book and I had trouble putting the book down!!
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
"A Silent Ocean Away" is an absorbing read, written by sisters Debra and Valerie Gantt (hence DeVa). The writing doesn't convey any impression of design by committee, except perhaps in the depth of detail given to peripheral characters, though, of course, I may be totally mistaking who's peripheral, since the book is part one of a trilogy. The tale is set on an exotic island in the 19th century. DeVa make their depiction of locale and time very enticing and convincing. I loved the simple touches, like a new Jane Austen novel being read, and the complex creation of a complete society, separate from but closely linked by trade to the rest of the world. I soon grew attached to the characters too, and appreciated the deft descriptions that made it easy to tell who was who as people vanished and reappeared. The subtitle, "Colette's Dominion," left me waiting for a Colette while following the tribulations of Charmaine through the early chapters. The writers do an excellent job of throwing both character and reader into the deep end of the pool, stripping family, friends and home away, till the landing on Charmante, where Charmaine becomes governess to Colette's three children. The ocean of the title seemed to represent Charmaine's anchorless existence at the start, and then the distance travelled to the island. But soon it came to symbolize the oceans of silence between secrets, each character revealing feelings to the reader that were never voiced to those who needed to hear them. Mysteries abound in this book, and by the end they are mostly unresolved. Indeed, that would be my biggest complaint, that the only "resolved" story-line seemed the least interesting when I suddenly found I'd turned the final page; I wish the trilogy had been published as a single volume. The children, with their delightful foibles and wonderfully natural tricks, are growing now. The brothers, almost uncles, are at each others' throats. The father rules and vanishes with perplexing twists and turns. And the authors' insights at the back of the book lead to a chapter from Colette's Legacy that at least convinces me there really will be more. More than just a romance, this is a complicated, absorbing tale, marred only by its incompleteness. I'd certainly recommend it, as long as you don't mind waiting in a roiling ocean as the waves turn to storm till the next book comes out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a litle afraid when I bought this book that it was going to turn out to be another one of those wishy-washy, utterly unoriginial and uninteresting historical novels that leaves me regretting the purchase and forgetting the book in a matter of days; but I was more than pleasantly surprised with this novel. I want to commend DeVa Gantt for creating a host of characters in this book who came alive right off the page- John, in particular. I read ALOT of books and it is a small portion of those whose characters draw me in so fully and captivate me as much as the ones in this novel did. It was pure escapsim. The subtle susupense and tension in the novel is prime; and is what I think makes it so good. It was a refreshing take on a historical novel (but be warned- if you are looking for a historical novel more heavy on the facts and details of the time, this is not what you are looking for)....Regardless, this is a wonderful book. The pacing, and the characters especially were so heartwarming. Gantt didn't skip over the seemingly mundane aspects of human interaction, which most authors rush by, in favor of the action packed scenes and introspective paragraphs...the authors dug into these characters, and into the more poignant aspects of their lives. It's one tiny downfall is probably that the family secrets the authors allude to, can honestly be deciphered and figured out half way through the book...it wasn't all that mysterious or hard to figure out...Still, it was a good novel, and one of a trilogy that I am sincerely looking forward to! I could go on and on, but ultimately, what I am saying is, that this is a great book! If you are looking for an excellent story with memorable characters set in a historic setting; dont hesitate to buy it! I only finished reading this book a few days ago, but it still has me under its spell. Thank goodness, the next one is coming out in a week! I couldnt wait much longer!
ViH1 More than 1 year ago
This book is totally captivating and moving. The characters are complex, interesting, and entertaining. I found myself laughing, crying, but never bored. It left me yearning for more, and feeling cheated that the rest of the series will take awhile to be published and released.
Lisa82NY More than 1 year ago
I loved this book series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found this at a Big Lots and fell in love with the authors. Then I read the second, Decision and Destiny, from the library. and want Forever Waiting. Just can't get enough and look forward to trying to find Colette's Prayer and Silent Oceans Away. They are almost impossible to put down Hope to find it here at home and not have to wait on an order.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG so cool. Ya' ll are every where!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally i found yal the gathering is at gathering first result see u there
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im back. I havent been on in a month!!! Anyone here have a TI-84 Plus and can use PRGM?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Move camps, ashcoulds locked out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello * pads in * im kinda new...wheres ur leader?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seastar is. Silverrver hisses. And im staying here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seastar is dead. CloudWISH the deputy is now leader
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ASHCLOUD Locked out!!!
Lynda166 More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book. I loved it. It's a story about a girl who grew up with a abusive father and a wonderful mother. She leaves school to be a companion with an older lady. Later she travels to an island to help with 3 children. I just ordered the other 2 books of the trilogy. Charmaine is the main character who is quite entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Renda_Brooks More than 1 year ago
From page one of this story, DeVa Gantt (Debra & Valerie Gantt) managed to pull me into Charmaine Ryan's life. I was transported from the here and now to 1800s Virginia and then to Les Charmantes, an island in the Carribean. I felt sadness in some parts, laughed in others, and dislike for some of the characters of Charmaine's world. Charmaine starts her "working" life at an early age as a companion to Loretta Harrington. The Harrington's treat Charmaine as their own, especially after her father, John, murders her mother, Marie. Early in the story, John runs from the crime and is not seen nor heard from, except in Charmaine's nightmares. After learning of a Governess position on Les Charmantes with the wealthy Duvoisin family, the Harrington's provide Charmaine with an opportunity to start a new life. They travel to the island and after a few interviews with Coletta, the three children's mother, Charmaine is hired and moves into the mansion. Charmaine finds herself becoming entwined in the wealthy family's life and the mystery, adventure, and intrigue swirled with each page turned. She comes to adore and is adored by the children and Coletta. Frederic, the master and patriarch, treats her indifferently. Frederic's illegitimate son, Paul, attempts to court her. Agatha, Frederic's first wife's sister, is cruel and selfish. Eventually John, the heir of the Duvoisin fortune, returns to the island and torments Charmaine relentlessly. I found myself unable to put this book down until I finished the last page. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.
Bettybook More than 1 year ago
This is the first in a series of 3 books about the Duvoisin family. Set in the 1800's, this historical fiction is a must read. The plots are cleverly managed and keep the interest level high. The second and third books: "Decision and Destiny" and "Forever Waiting" are now also in print. They were worth the wait. The authors have done a fabulous job. Plenty of opportunity for a prequel or sequel in the future. Would make a great movie or mini series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story gets you so involved in the characters. I found myself laughing out loud. I was so glad I was on vacation when I started reading I ended up spending the day just reading and finished the book in less then 24 hours. You feel a loss when you reach the end of the book. I can't wait to read the next book due out in April. I know what I'll be reading over the spring break.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For the reader who loves sweeping storys and lots of guessing , if you want well writen plot and likeable and 3d characers this is it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
QUICKFOOT well... dins trial isnt as hard as naryu... i would rate it seven on a scale from one to nine. Its much easier than the trial of the godde-- heh sorry no spoilers for u!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yea. Srry!