The Love Story of Matthew Flinders and Ann Chappelle
The year 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. He was personable, steadfast and ambitious and was making his mark as a navigator in the Pacific. He was torn between his love for the sea and his love for her.
They married. Three months later Matthew 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, he 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. Matthew returned but his health was broken. On his early tragic death, Ann wrote of her beloved" he was the idol of my heart, the centre of my earthly happiness," and mourned him until the end of her days.
How did their love survive? With its interweaving of letters and diary entries, 'Letters to Ann' will give you a rare insight into the finer feelings of one of history's most remarkable couples.