Historical Romance unfolds as US Marine is sent to aid earthquake victims in Italy and falls in love with local school teacher.
Derek Hart Books
The "Great White Fleet" was sent around the world by President Theodore Roosevelt from 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909 and consisted of sixteen new battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. The battleships were painted white except for gilded scrollwork on their bows, hence the nickname.
So mix an earthquake, stolen gold, 7 world powers, a few nasty bad guys, and one incredibly beautiful woman and what do you get?
In Egypt, word was received of an earthquake in Sicily, thus affording an opportunity for the United States to show friendship to Italy by offering aid to the sufferers. The Connecticut, Illinois, Culgoa and Yankton were dispatched to Messina at once. The crew of the Illinois recovered the bodies of the American consul and his wife, entombed in the ruins.
These simple historical facts led author Derek Hart to conduct extensive research into the lives and duties of the USS Illinois, the officers, crew, and especially the contingent of US Marines on board. As in his other historical novels, For Love or Honor Bound and Tangles of Truth, Hart surrounded a simple tale of love and sacrifice with historical fact.
Between 5:20 and 5:30 AM on December 28, 1908, the Monday after Christmas weekend, a major earthquake and tsunami (tidal wave) totally destroyed Messina (pop. 150,000), Reggio Calabria (pop. 50,000), and dozens of nearby towns. With about 100,000 fatalities in total (though estimates vary greatly), this was the deadliest earthquake in European history. Even larger numbers were left injured or homeless, losing everything. In the most severely affected towns, roughly half the population perished, with most victims either entombed in the rubble of their homes or struck down in the streets by collapsing three to five-story buildings.
This disaster was the building block for Derek Hart’s grand romantic adventure, as US Marine Corps Captain Richard Danforth is thrust into the middle of a relief expedition to assist earthquake survivors. Little does he know that this mission will lead to murder, intrigue, the heist of an enormous fortune of gold, and of course, falling in love with local teacher Maria Vitale. The lengths to which these young lovers go to realize their dreams together are what adventures are made of and Flag of Her Choosing is no exception.