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220 years later, Nelson’s Stepson returns to Nevis - sort of!

After over 220 years, Josiah Nisbet, stepson of British Naval hero Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, has returned to his birthplace, the Caribbean Island of Nevis. No, it’s not a reunion with the ghost of Nevis’ most famous son – US Founding Father and musical icon Alexander Hamilton – it’s only Josiah’s story returning to remind visitors that sometimes those living in a hero’s shadow, also have a story worth telling.


Image: Museum of Nevis History - houses what is said to be the largest collection of Nelson relics in the Western Hemisphere in the Nevis in the time of Nelson gallery

As my readers know, my second novel, Nelson’s Lost Son features the exotic Caribbean islands of Nevis and St Kitts. There my protagonist Josiah Nisbet uses his political, naval and inter-personal skills to protect the small islands from Napoleon’s French invaders – and from their own prejudice.


The Challenge

Josiah has been virtually forgotten by history, so I was delighted when the Museum of Nevis agreed to a request from a friend of mine, during his visit, to accept a copy of my novels. The question was how to buy copies and how to get them there.


My friend offered both novels as although my first, Nelson’s Folly isn’t set in Nevis, in it I focus on the story of Josiah’s mother, Fanny Nelson, Lord Nelson’s unfairly maligned wife, my ancestor. She was born on Nevis in 1757, the year after Alexander Hamilton. However it  is unlikely they ever met as Fanny’s father was the senior judge on the island, so it is fair to say that she was part of the elite, which at that stage of his life, the orphaned Alexander, who left the island when he was nine, was not.


Fanny at one point was the “First Lady” to her uncle who was the President of the Island’s Council. In fact, she met and married Horatio there with Prince William Henry, later King William IV as a witness at their wedding.




Proud Heritage

I became aware the island was proud of its naval hero and his wife and was doing its best to preserve the relics that had survived when I visited to research my novels. So many visitors wanted to visit the “Nelson” locations on the island that the local guide knew them well and eagerly drove me to visit them in his taxi.


Old friends from the time I worked in the Far East had owned a house on Nevis and have kept up with people on the island. Although they no longer live there, they introduced me to a barrister friend who still lives there to help check the locations in Nelson’s Lost Son for accuracy.


In addition, he told me “Friends of Nevis” decided to help a fledgling museum dedicated to the Nelson Story by making a replica of the uniform worn by Nelson at his wedding and presenting it to the museum.



My friend in Switzerland contacted me to arrange how he could send copies of my two novels to the museum and to the Premier of Nevis. I suggested ordering from Amazon but my friend was uncertain. “The mail can be very slow” was his diplomatic way of explaining. Instead, through his connections he found a person who lived in Vienna, Austria, who was going to be in Nevis.


Another obstacle quickly presented – how to get copies of my books to Vienna? Believe it or not, Amazon does not operate in Switzerland where my friend lives. The answer was buy the books from Amazon in Germany, have them shipped to Vienna for hand delivery to Nevis.


Talk about six degrees of separation! Books written by a novelist in Australia are bought on-line in Germany by someone who lives in Switzerland and make their way via Austria to the Caribbean island where the story is set and everything began!


Happy Anniversary

Nelson and Fanny’s nuptials are without a doubt the most famous wedding here to date. I also discovered recently that March 11 is the wedding anniversary of Lord Nelson and Fanny Nisbet. On that day each year, the Nevis local historical society hosts an anniversary tea in their honour in the museum. I hope my books will make it in time to be there for the celebration this year!



Image: Nevis –Daily Mail “Admiral of the Caribbean: Nevis, where Lord Nelson lost his heart - and so will you”

“But to discover the flesh-and-blood Horatio Nelson, rather than that lofty stone one [in Trafalgar Square], we must train our telescopes away from grimy Central London to the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis….There, Nelson made his mark as an ambitious young commander … [and where] he met plantation owner's daughter Frances 'Fanny' Nisbet…


The lack of vulgar theming (no Horatio Holiday Flats or Blind Eye Bar & Grill) adds to the allure for the history and, especially, the Nelson buff. You can shut your eyes and almost see the resilient, ruthless people who carved out our West Indian empire two centuries ago, enduring the colossal heat in their weighty wigs, breeches and full-length gowns.”




Experience Josiah and Fanny's adventures - order your copy of their stories or sign up to ‘stay in touch’ on my home page. Nelson's Folly is now also available as an audiobook.




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