Sanders, Cristina

  24 Reviews

When Jerningham Wakefield arrives in the fledgling settlement of Port Nicholson, the infamous Wakefield family has much to accomplish and accomplish it, it does. With the New Zealand Company luring migrants aplenty, there is land to be purchased, horses and victuals to be traded, new settlers to be placated and of course, Maori to be negotiated with.

Arthur Lugg, bookkeeper, procurement officer and Jerningham's minder (by order of Colonel William Wakefield), relates this pacy and vibrant story of early European settlement, and the complex and charismatic Jerningham's role in it.

With its careful observations and vivid descriptions, this historically grounded novel provides readers with an easy and enjoyable lesson in New Zealand colonial history.



A very mixed response to this book. Several really loved this very well researched story of early Wellington and colonists. Others were not gripped by it at all.
This was a polarising book for our group. Some found it lengthy and slow, others quite the opposite. They enjoyed the well researched tale of early Wellington and were interested in the story of real characters from those times. The stories surrounding the Wakefields at the time of colonisation were a revelation at times.
We all found this a very interesting book, presenting NZ history in a compelling way. There is the huge Wakefield family of chancers, with a focus on the charming, corrupt, insightful Jerningham. There is the powerful presence of Te Rauparaha. There are the mud, hardships, and frailty of the early settlement of Wellington. And there is the nineteenth century love story involving the fictional characters and dealing with feminist issues of women's powerlessness. There are even a few sex scenes to add spice to history. The accompanying booklet is very useful background reading.
RICH 009
Best book we've read together. Two people are going to buy a copy. Several said they "loved it", and "left me wanting more".
CHCH 549
The consensus of our all-male group was that this book focused on an uninteresting and morally questionable individual and failed to provide more than shallow insights into the title character, Jerningham. The historical setting was interesting but "the Maoris" were described in simplistic ways, without any attempt to present their role in history.
AUCK 014
The group scored this book highly and thought it was fascinating, well-written and researched. A few found it heavy going at the beginning with so many names and code names and so much detail. However it turned into a gripping narrative, and refreshing that the author delved into the personal and psychological states of the characters involved. Overall, easy to read. Would recommend!
AUCK 189
Thoroughly enjoyed by all. Rare consensus. Really gave us a sense of New Zealand at its foundation. Gave us all pause for thought about what was happening to Maori.
Our group found 'Jerningham' enjoyable and educational reading. It was well-written. The story intertwined with accurate historic facts made for a great discussion. We recommend 'Jerningham' to other groups.
ROTO 006
A very easy, thought provoking way to read New Zealand history, followed by a very lively discussion on subjects ranging from the Treaty through to 'Votes for Women and their rights'. The whole group loved it.
CHCH 137
Interesting book. 2 didn't enjoy it - too "monotonal" ( a new word possibly!) but the remaining 8 rated it a mix of good to very good. We liked the N.Z. history. By today's standards, we saw Lugg as a hypocrite and Jerningham not so!
Certainly a thought provoking book! Our members were very expressive of their feelings over the supposed supremacy of the New Zealand Company and its employees. To ride roughshod over the Maori owners of the land, the perceived superiority of the British and the general overbearing attitude of the developers of the Colony, was appalling! A good read though!
RICH 001
Several members plan to buy their own copies. One member lives near a very early cemetery where Arthur Lugg has a headstone. A most interesting read for us Nelson people.
NELS 012
A great read - historically interesting and accurate. A real sense of time and place... but could have omitted the sex!
WELL 107
We all thoroughly enjoyed this book. Richly imagined, well researched and very descriptive of our early settlers.
MAST 008
The general comment was that the picture painted for us at school of the New Zealand Company and the Wakefields was very different from the facts. This was an incredibly well-researched and balanced book creating a very descriptive picture of the settlements made, particularly at Nelson and Wellington. Overall, highly recommended.
AUCK 116
We all really liked the book - a fascinating look at N.Z. history, some completely unaware of it. Good characters - real and fictional.
ASHB 004
The group absolutely loved this book - we felt it should be a compulsory read for all N.Z.ers, and on College book lists! The characters were so well-rounded and complex and described so well. It made us realise the random nature of the settling of N.Z. and the deception and lies in the N.Z. Company's dealings with Maori.
WELL 045
Everyone was very engaged with this book. It was well researched and well-written. The book gave a balanced view of the times as it was from an observer's point of view. Being a Wellington group, we could relate to how arduous life would have been for settlers.
Very polarising book - some members could not tolerate the racism and sexism and didn't finish it. Others enjoyed it and liked the history despite the challenging attitudes of some protagonists.
MTMA 002
It was a small group discussion but we very much enjoyed this book. Great characterisations and the descriptions of early Wellington and beyond brought the story to life. We found we were relating it back to the Wellington of today.
NEWP 004
Thoroughly enjoyed this account of the founding of Wellington, and the Wakefield family. The author was admired for her depth of research although some members felt the writing was a bit "flat" and didn't do justice to rounding out the characters.
Authentic. Great read. Not easy to binge read. Great historical novel covering interesting topics of the time - sexism, poverty, racism amongst others. Lies and manipulation around the Treaty was horrifying.
This book was enjoyed by most of the group - resulted in a great discussion as colonialism and its effects are rising nowadays.
WELL 120
No meeting due to Covid, but all enjoyed it.