by Julie HaleApril, 2004
Set in New Zealand during the gold rush of the mid-19th century, Tremain's historical novel follows a pair of newlyweds as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Joseph and Harriet Blackstone, English immigrants, arrive in New Zealand, where they settle on a farm on the outskirts of Christchurch. Joseph is anxious to leave his past behind and his discovery of gold in a nearby creek represents hope for the future. He soon becomes obsessed with "the colour," as gold is called in his new home. Leaving his family behind, he sets off for New Zealand's west coast, where new gold fields are being excavated. Joining men much like himself greedy, ambitious, and desperate he lives a life of squalor among the miners. Meanwhile, Harriet sets off in pursuit of him a difficult quest that changes both of their lives forever. Tremain writes with authority about New Zealand and its native culture, making this a first-class historical narrative.