The Love Story of Matthew Flinders and Ann Chappelle.
It was 1801. The explorer Matthew Flinders was shortly to set sail for Terra Australis. Could he possibly win the heart of Ann Chappelle before he departed?
She was sweet-natured clever and dignified and came from a modest though genteel home. Having lost her seagoing father at a tender age, Ann wanted no attachment with a naval man. Flinders was personable, steadfast and ambitious and was making his mark as navigator in the Pacific. He was torn between his love for the sea and his love for her.
They married. Three months later Matthew Flinders left for Australia, where he surveyed the southern coast and circumnavigated the continent. It was a time of hostility between France and England. En route home, Flinders was detained by the French - for six years.
During almost ten years of separation, infrequent letters - sometimes twelve months in the sending - sustained their relationship. Flinders returned, but his health was broken. On his tragic early death, Ann wrote of her beloved, "he was the idol of my heart, the centre of my earthly happiness". She mourned him until the end of her days.
With its interweaving letters and diary entries, 'Letters To Ann' gives an insight into the finer feelings of one of history's most remarkable couples, and reveals the human side of an Australian icon.