The Colour - Having finished this book, I have decided to rewrite the review. Here is what I like about this writer and this novel:

First of all I am impressed with the author's ability to create this story from nothing. The story seems so real, the people seem real. Out of nothing she has created a world that has never existed. I usually find non-fiction better than fiction. Fiction never feels genuine, but this novel does.

What I like most about this book is the way the author has an idea and then says it with a few simple words that feel utterly perfect. I fear that if I extract those sentences out of the novel you will not understand them. Here is one: "What is important to me is already mine." See, you don't understand! But it has to do with self-discovery. This sentence just perfectly summarizes how it when you understand what is important for yourself.

Tremain, through this novel, made me understand the craziness that engulfs those looking for gold. I understand now what these people experienced, not just physically but emotionally too.

For me, the primary theme of this book is in fact love. What it does to us. How it can both destroy us and make life worth living. Their are several different love stories found in this novel. Each love relationship has a different story to tell. Each one was distinct and special in its own way.

I feel like I know more about New Zealand after reading this book, both its history and its physical characteristics. I had to get out a map and find the cities. I found them all. I like that I could place this story on a real patch of earth.

Finally, the characters are perfectly drawn - through dialog and what they do and how they do what they do. I will give you one example only. There are two immigrant families - the Blackstones(Joseph and Harriet and Joseph's mother Lillian) and the Orchards(Toby and Dorothy and their son Edwin). Lillian and Dorothy are dining with the Orchards. Lillian, proper and constrained, fingers her wine glass, straightens the cutlery. Toby, is jovial and happy - the spring is coming, the day had been beautiful, he is entertaining three women and celebrates by putting on a new waistcoat and bringing out two bottles of his best claret. Toby, in an animated, lively manner, praises the skills of livestock auctioneers. He exclaims that what they do is a "science" he so admires. Lillian's late husband had been a livestock auctioneer. And how does Tremain draw the scene for us? Lillian is terribly flattered! Someone recognizes her worth, albeit though her late husband. She halts her hands' aligning of the cutlery and positions them in a "prayer-like clench". When she next picks up her glass of claret her little finger is held at an angle. Picture this. Tremain puts before our eyes exactly how this woman would appear, exactly what she most probably would do. We see it. And it is so perfect because this is exactly what Lillian would do. Tremain draws characters so we see them.

One more thing - where the plot leads was a complete surprise. The book description gives you no clue! And then at the end, all the threads are tied up perfectly and what each character has done makes complete sense.