Set against the background of the mid-19th century gold rush, English immigrants and newlyweds, Joseph and Harriet Blackstone, seek a more prosperous life in
New Zealand. Together with Joseph's widowed mother, they attempt to build a farm. When Joseph discovers gold in the local creek, he heads to the gold fields, escaping his failing farm and eroding marriage. NZ Interest.
Comments from Groups
We felt that Rose Tremain captured the feel of colonial NZ very well and the characters in the book were authentic and well portrayed. An enjoyable and easy read. Ashburton 022
A great read. Really enjoyed this as a group. Discussed settlers, relationships, love, GOLD! and Maori mythology. Great feedback from group. Newport 012
Mixed reactions - some loved multilayered storylines, some found it too dark in places. Auckland 192
Mixed reactions to this book from our group. Some loved every word and found the writing delightful. All found the historical details interesting. For many the superstitions and dreams were hard to follow, however we had much enjoyable discussion. Hamilton 026
The group thoroughly enjoyed this book. The hardship and the reality of the era. The way the author wrote it, and the ideas she had were tremendous. Whirito 001
Fabulous book, well-written. Good discussion.
Mixed reaction to the book. Nobody really loved it but it generated great discussion.
A good read. For those interested in colonial life, this is an engaging story.
The group really enjoyed this book with its rich history of the gold rush era. The writing was such that we were transported to the goldfields, and we could sense the excitement, despair, happiness etc. as well as getting a feel for the deprivation, rot and bush rats. A great tale with twists and turns to the very end.
Most really enjoyed the book. A couple found it rather disjointed. The hardship endured made us all think about how the early settlers suffered.
Book generally well received. Most in the group welcomed the chance to read fictionalised N.Z.history, and found they wanted to research the West Coast goldfields further. Consensus - not the author's best book!
All members of the group enjoyed the book especially as it was set in Christchurch/Canterbury and then the West Coast. The various scenarios in the story blended to make a tale worth reading. While the outcome of each scenario was resolved there were some questions left unanswered ie. what was Edwin's sickness What happened to the gold under the 17th onion We had quite a lively discussion based on these aspects but we all enjoyed it as "a good yarn".
Most people liked it - thought the author captured the essence of N.Z.
Everyone loved the book but disappointed with a 'flat' ending.
The book seemed to depict the era well. We could imagine the places and people.
We all enjoyed this book from the NZ perspective. It gave a credible view of gold digging and the destitution of those unsuccessful. It had some whimsical parts to the story, and we all felt that Joseph was tiresome but Harriet showed grit and determination.