Category Archives: Historical

The Vanishing Act by Jen Shieff – 2018

Art teacher Rosemary Cawley has been exiled to Auckland, New Zealand, due to her upper-class British family not coping with her accidentally-discovered erotic poetry; it is the 1960s – the Vietnam War, toothpick-skewered cheese and gherkins, an almost Victorian-era sex … Continue reading

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Shadows of the Mind by Owen Clough – 2018

Shadows of the mind is the second book in Clough’s Whispers of the past trilogy.  This installment follows the story of Samuel McInnes (Mack), who was bundled away from New Zealand on the HMS Esk while still unconscious after an … Continue reading

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Women in the Field, One and Two by Thomasin Sleigh – 2018

Ruth Bishops is an assistant art keeper toiling in the Fisher Gallery in early 1950s London, shy of relationships after losing her fiancé in the war.  She reluctantly goes to view some paintings by Irina Durova, an aging Russian artist, … Continue reading

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From the Ashes by Deborah Challinor – 2018

Challinor’s historical novels are usually cram-packed with female characters who are the books’ main agents, and From the ashes is no exception.  Set in the 1950s, it is one of the titles published recently about this interesting era of New … Continue reading

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The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke by Tina Makereti – 2018

“Wanderer, freak, sailor, philosopher, Native boy in English costume, English boy in native costume. Exhibitionist, lover, clown, Maori boy, Man of the world.” – Hemi (James) Pōneke is recuperating in a house in Victorian London – and recording his story … Continue reading

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This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman – 2018

Albert Black has been accused of murder, and the death penalty stands, “Will goodness and mercy prevail?” – alas no, not in 1950s New Zealand, not with the shadow of the Second World War affecting how politicians make decisions, and … Continue reading

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Sleeps Standing Moetū by Witi Ihimaera and Hēmi Kelly – 2017

“You didn’t know about the women and children at Rewi’s last stand?”  Sadly, no – the bravery and technical brilliance yes, but not the stories of sacrifice by all the defenders, regardless of age or gender. Sleeps standing Moetū is … Continue reading

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