Books » Amelia’s Daughter

Synopsis

Sidney Black-Smyth, having lost his parents, both aviators, in his teens, is sent to live with his Aunt Polliandra in USA. However, his bad-tempered, drunken aunt does not want him, only agreeing to take him when she realises what his parents’ estate is worth. Sid has no knowledge of this; he hates his aunt, who treats him badly, and runs away, living rough and finding work here and there, calling him self Sid Smith. One night he shelters in the fuselage of an old aircraft at an airfield/farm in Florida and is discovered by one of the staff. Asked whether he wants work, he is taken on by the airfield owners, Chuck and Wilma. He works hard on the farm and learns to fly; they are kind to him and he sees them as his family, eventually becoming a partner in the business.

They are offered a haulage contract by Guy Hudson of Hudson Foods and Sid has a brief fling with Rachel, Guy’s attractive, but spoilt brat of a daughter. He finds her grabbing and selfish and is not interested in a relationship with her.

Aunt Polly does not report Sid missing and continues to claim money from the estate for his living expenses and education. However, shortly after Sid’s twenty-first birthday, the family solicitor turns up at her house to give Sid the news that he is now a millionaire. The aunt is so shocked at the news that she passes out, falling awkwardly onto a heavy oak coffee table and fatally breaking her neck.

Then the hunt is on to trace Sid and appeals are launched in newspapers, displaying an old photograph of him as a boy. Rachel sees the photograph and recognises him, telling her father that she knows him and he is part of the firm recently contracted to haul goods for Hudson Foods.

Shortly afterwards, Sid is found and told of his newly acquired wealth which has been held in a trust fund for years. A whole new world opens up for him, and he invests in Chuck’s business, becoming an equal partner, as well as buying shares in Hudson Foods. He returns to England to visit his parents’ graves and the three homes he now owns. With the help of James, his chauffeur/handyman he makes them habitable again and lays the ghosts of the past.

Back in America, the business thrives and Sid is now able to try and realise his ambition – to find his heroine, Amelia Earhart, who set off on an epic journey around the world in 1937 but never came back and was never found. He purchases a DC3, having it especially adapted with floats for air or sea travel. Naming her Lady Lindy (Earhart’s nickname) he heads for the South Pacific to set up a base in the Cook Islands.

Faced with many problems and almost losing Lady Lindy in a raging storm, he returns to the US until the weather improves, throwing himself into his partnership duties. His second attempt, three months later begins to look equally hopeless and after six weeks, he has found nothing of any significance. Once again a storm forces him to land and as he flies over a forest clearing, to land on a nearby lagoon, he notices something in the shape of a plane.

When he is awoken next morning by a half naked girl throwing stones at the fuselage, and later becomes ensnared in a mantrap, he can have no inkling that he has come across Lindy Earhart-Noonan – none other than the illegitimate daughter of Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan. The girl has lived alone on the island since her father drowned in the lagoon, her mother having gone to seek refuge from the Japanese war planes, but was never heard of again. Her home is a life size model of her mother’s plane, built mostly from wood and plant material. This was what Sid had spotted as he flew over the forest.

Lindy is very wary of Sid at first and he gradually gains her confidence by leaving food out for her. Then he is bitten by a venomous snake and she saves his life, nursing him back to health. Though sixteen, she still has the mind of a ten-year-old and Sid enlists Wilma’s help to teach her some social skills – such as wearing clothes in company! She has flying in her blood though, and Sid soon has her at the controls learning to fly. Eventually, Amelia’s mother, Amy, is traced and becomes her official guardian. Lindy is sent to school to complete her education and Sid returns to his business partnership which has now expanded and become a successful international airport.

Since the moment they met, there has been a magnetism between Sid and Lindy and they realise they are deeply in love. During Christmas celebrations in Sussex, they become engaged. Back in the States, impatient to be together, they marry on the spur of the moment. Months later, Lindy discovers she is pregnant and just afterwards a serious earthquake hits San Francisco. The couple want to help and Sid, on a mercy mission with medical supplies and provisions, goes down in the Nevada Desert and loses contact. Numerous search parties are out looking for him, but Lindy decides to fly her namesake, Lady Lindy over the area in an effort to find him… which, eventually, after much drama and suspense, she does…….or does she?