Three things attracted me to this book. Firstly it is historical fiction which is my favourite genre. Secondly it is set in two parts of history I don’t know too much about; Victorian New Zealand and the Boer war in South Africa. Part romance part adventure/war story it follows two young New Zealanders from early courtship, through separation by war and reunion.
The boy’s part is written in the first person, which I liked as it gave you a look inside the head of a young man dealing with the horrors of war. The details of this book where fabulous, the writer knows a lot about 19th century guns. I’m not a lover of guns but I appreciate he made these come alive for me. I felt he might have handled these weapons rather than read up on them.
The part of Rachel was written in the third person and the kidnap plot I could have done without. It might be because I’m a female reader that I would have liked a bit more of her emotions about a fiancee that is fighting on the other side of the world; how New Zealanders viewed the Boer war etc.
What you can’t fault this book on is its immaculate research; it can’t have been easy to bring 1990’s Wanganui to life. Start to finish it was a riveting read.