The Castle of Heavenly Bliss
Book Three of the Winterbine Tetralogy
GERDA VROUWENDIJK, under the name of Edith Bicknell, arrives in the isolated rural town of Binawarra to take up a teaching position in the local high school. Ms Vrouwendijk is confident she can keep her disguise and purpose hidden, as well as her dark connections. But she has not reckoned on Florence Barker. Miss Barker, severe spinster, feared and avoided by the townspeople (‘you will call me Miss Barker’), is not at all what she seems. Nor has the memory of a brief meeting fifteen years earlier in Middelburg, Holland, with the crippled local priest, Fr van Engelen, come back to Ms Vrouwendijk. These slips in her otherwise meticulous planning will prove critical.
Canny Miss Barker and Fr van Engelen set about discovering what Edith Bicknell is doing in their obscure little country town, and why she has an interest in the beautiful, outwardly aloof Estella Winterbine. A tense game of cat and mouse follows as Ms Vrouwendijk’s manipulation of people and events becomes ever more complex. When a senior teacher is found dead at the bottom of a peak (called Death Rock by the local youth), and the local newspaper begins attacking the Principal of Binawarra High School, Ms Vrouwendijk’s plans – whatever their aim – seem to have an unstoppable momentum. Then Estella goes missing. Former SAS captain and Vietnam veteran, Geoffrey Shawcross, sets off in a pursuit that takes him across the world to France and Holland.
The themes of the ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, the occult and Gnosticism are introduced as the story progresses. The ideological conflicts of the 1960s form the background to the story.
I have extensively revised, in parts rewritten and reorganized Book Three of the Winterbine Tetralogy. Book Two has undergone the same process. Book One (complete 2019) and Book Four (due 2021) are to come.
More information here.