Tara Haigh has many years of experience writing hit television shows, as well as women’s fiction with plenty of heart and humour under the name Tessa Hennig. All of her books have been bestsellers, and some of them have already been adapted for TV. Her carefully researched historical novels tell thrilling love stories in exotic locales and address aspects of world history that are comparatively little known or only rarely depicted in literature.
On Far Malayan Shores
Release paperback and audible december 2019
Hamburg, 1898. As Ella nurses her beloved adoptive father on his deathbed, he uses the last of his strength to scribble down a name: ‘Richard F’. Convinced this man must hold the key to her unknown origins, Ella hunts for more clues, uncovering years of unexplained monthly payments from the British colony of Malaya. With no other leads and nothing left in Hamburg, she sets sail for the Far East in search of the truth.
The trail leads her to a rubber plantation owned by the Foster family. Could they have something to do with the mysterious Mr F? But before she can find proof of her heritage, Ella is caught up in tensions between colonial forces and the Malayan resistance - in more ways than one. With a high-ranking official vying for her attention, how can she admit to anyone, let alone herself, that she’s fallen for a local rebel?
As her head and heart struggle with the secrets that lie in her past and her present, Ella must ask herself what price she is willing to pay for the truth - and for freedom.
Most novels of this genre are set in Africa, Australia or New Zealand as if those places were the only fascinating locations far and away. This is surprising because Malaysia couldn’t be more fascinating for its scenic beauty, its cultural diversity and the peaceful coexistence of Malays, Chinese, Indians and expatriates that are working there. Islam meets Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. This had already been the case long before the local sultanates sold off their territories to the British who had succeeded the Portuguese and the Dutch. All of them pursued colonial interests securing their place under the sun and exploited the Malaysian natural resources: tin, rubber and palm oil that modern Malaysia has been exporting ever since. Tropical jungle, magnificent beaches and ethnic variety turn Malaysia into a unique adventure. I had the privilege to live and work there. That’s why I would like to invite you to a journey back in time. Come to visit the British Straits Settlements, Penang, Malacca and Singapore during the golden age of colonialism at the end of the 19th century. Bon voyage!
The German version "Das weiße Blut der Erde" released in October 2017 hit top positions in the German Amazon book charts, was one of Amazon's top titles during Christmas and even turned into a bestseller in a chain store outside the Amazon universe. It was also nominated for the German readers award in the category historic novel.