Tuesday, June 24, 2008

1001 Books Update - The Colour

I decided to join another reading challenge called the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by blogger Annie at Reading, Writing and Ranting. The idea is to read six historical novels in six months. I figured this would be an easy challenge since my favorite genre is historical fiction. While perusing the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list I came across an interesting historical fiction book called The Colour by Rose Tremain. The brief synopsis sounded interesting enough:

Joseph and Harriet Blackstone, recently married, move from England to New Zealand in the 1800s for new opportunities and gets swept away in the gold rush. They take Joseph's widowed mother with them as well. All three characters are running away from something: Joseph from a secret, Harriet from a life of being a governess, and the mother from her husband's memory. Joseph finds a gleam of gold in a nearby creek and decides to abandon the homestead and head out for the gold fields in search of the colour (gold).

It took me a while to figure out how I would write this review. The writing is very good. The author definitely did her homework on the gold rush period and the New Zealand setting. Actually I love how she depicted New Zealand. However, my problem with the book was with the relationships. At first I was totally upset with how the author depicted this tangled family. I didn't like Joseph, Harriet was too good, and the mother was totally useless. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for a book about a failing marriage being so new at marriage myself. While reading the book I kept saying how I was totally disappointed with the story but somehow I kept reading it.

Well, the good thing is that many of the characters do evolve and I was drawn into their stories. I kept thinking Joseph would change though and he was truly a sickening character...maybe that was on purpose...you're supposed to love to hate Joseph. I ended up wanting Harriet to find her own dreams and the mother-in-law's transformation was truly remarkable.

In the end, I'm not sure how I'd rate this book. I think you'd just have to read it yourself and figure out if you love or hate it.

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1 comment:

  1. well if you are serious about the 1001 books list, head on over to


    and pick up a copy of Arukiyomi's interactive 1001 books spreadsheet to help you chart your progress

    happy reading