Carolyn Muir Helfenstein
When James is hired by the Duke of Dorchester to deliver a young Arab stallion to the colony of Newfoundland in the year 1800, he and the duke’s daughter, Alicia, realize this is a perfect opportunity for them to escape together to the New World. They would cross the sea, James would deliver the young horse to a Mr. Penney who lived on Bell Island, and then, they would be free to live their lives as husband and wife. Nothing could stop them, they thought.
But their ship, the Hindsight cannot withstand the unrelenting waves of an Atlantic storm near the Newfoundland coastline. It slips beneath the surface. James and Alicia are tied to each other and to the leads they had secured around their Arab stallion. Bred to meet any challenge, he surges onward to an unknown shore. Alicia however, gives in to the ice-cold sea.
James catches sight of a single light, flickering in the distance. The young black stallion senses shore and is able to scramble up on a rocky beach. Out of the darkness come two Newfoundlanders. Knowing the secrets to outsmart Poseidon’s deadly hand, Ted and Marion Martin get to work.
Equally important and pivotal to the entire saga is the lonely Mr. Robert Penney. Overwhelmed with joy when James delivers the young stallion to his doorstep, Mr. Penney offers James, Alicia and their two Newfoundland friends an opportunity that sweeps Rock Solid through the next fifty years of true-to-life Newfoundland history. Helfenstein’s tale has been taken from the research she absorbed while in search of her own Newfoundland identity.
Carolyn Helfenstein never forgot her Uncle Doug spinning the tale of a duchess and a coachman eloping across the sea. She was 18 at the time—and would admit later she hoped making that trip would have helped her regain a sense of being a Newfoundlander. But that identity she sought did not happen until she was in her seventies. She was determined by then to find the answer. She researched through the University of Waterloo (independent studies) earned a degree, and her thesis In Search of My Identity was well received. Carolyn had developed a perfect framework to write a novel that would validate her understanding of who she was. Rock Solid became her journey of discovery.
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