The Colour by Rose Tremain

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A sweeping historical novel about love, ruin, and redemption in nineteenth-century New Zealand

Rose Tremain’s new novel is a saga of love and greed set during the mid-nineteenth-century gold rush in New Zealand. Newlyweds Joseph and Harriet Blackstone emigrate from England, along with Joseph’s mother, Lilian, in search of new beginnings and prosperity. But the harsh land near Christchurch where they settle threatens to destroy them almost before they begin. When Joseph finds gold in the creek, he hides the discovery from both his wife and mother and becomes obsessed with the riches awaiting him deep in the earth. Abandoning his farm and family, he sets off alone for the new goldfields over the Southern Alps, a moral wilderness where many others, under the seductive dreams of “the colour,” rush to their destinies.

Harriet decides to pursue her own journey toward an uncertain future. But nothing has prepared her for what happens to her when she arrives at the gold diggings. Amid squalor and confusion, burning heat and icy flood, Harriet comes face-to-face with the true cost of desire.

Beautifully written, hauntingly evocative, and by turns both moving and terrifying, The Colour is the story of a quest for the impossible, an attempt to mine the complexities of love and in the process discover what it is that makes men and women happy.

About Rose Tremain

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Rose Tremain is the author of eight novels, including "The Way I Found Her" (WSP 1999), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1998, "Sacred Country" (WSP 1999), which won both the James Tait Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger in France, and "Restoration," which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 1995. Tremain's work has been translated into fourteen languages. She lives in Norfolk, England, with the biographer Richard Holmes, and has a daughter, Eleanor, who is an actress.
Published January 1, 2003 by Chatto & Windus. 320 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Colour

Kirkus Reviews

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True to form, Tremain doesn’t confine herself to the white settler’s viewpoint: other important characters include a Maori woman guided by the spirit world, and a Chinese market gardener who will play a crucial plot role and experience a transformation.

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The Guardian

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The Colour by Rose Tremain Chatto & Windus £16.99, pp366 Rose Tremain's two previous historical novels have been set in royal courts: locations which have allowed her gorgeous narrative powers to stretch out, rather luxuriously, in a world of claret and candlelight.

May 25 2003 | Read Full Review of The Colour

The Guardian

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Joseph, we are slowly led to understand, has fled something terrible in his past - fled, indeed, into his marriage to Harriet.

May 03 2003 | Read Full Review of The Colour

Publishers Weekly

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Readers familiar with British writer Tremain's magisterial historical novel, Restoration, or her psychologically acute study of madness, Music & Silence, will not be surprised at the accuracy of historical detail in this elegant and dramatic novel about the mid–19th-century gold rush in New Zeala...

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BC Books

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She relates to her mother-in-law, Lillian, who has accompanied them to their new lives, and to her neighbours, whose little son becomes especially important in her own childless life.

Jul 02 2009 | Read Full Review of The Colour

Book Reporter

Harriet is forced to realize that she does not love her new husband enough to make a success of their hard new life;

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Colour

Entertainment Weekly

With a dramatic, lyrical style reminiscent of her 2000 tome Music & Silence, The Colour follows Joseph and Harriet Blackstone, an English couple who emigrate to New Zealand during the 1860s gold rush in hopes of escaping their shameful pasts and rescuing their failing marriage.

May 23 2003 | Read Full Review of The Colour

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