I haven’t really had the urge to read much recently – which I suspect is fuelled by the books I got out of desperation from the local library (which are all 400+ pages – not such a great prospect when they don’t really excite you – of course they may prove me wrong !) but after I managed to go to the Central library I was able to pick up what I hope will be a few more stimulating reads. This is how I found myself reading ‘The Colour’ by Rose Tremaine – an author whose name may ring a bell but by whom I haven’t previously read anything. I’m not sure why I chose this one to read first – I think it may have been something about a couple moving from Norfolk to New Zealand (the motivation for which I can definitely understand…) – although in a much harsher time than now.
Harriet Salt, previously a governess, marries Joseph Blackstone under the promise of adventure: she’s uninspired by her English life and wants more – moving halfway around the world (accompanied by Joseph’s resentful mother) although when they get there Joseph is keen to keep her at bay. Joseph seals himself off further when, once established in their house and bit of land, he discovers gold dust in their creek. The promise of gold becomes a fixation for Joseph, who realises he doesn’t care for Harriet and their married life; eventually he travels across the country to join the gold rush and try and find his fortune. Harriet is a much more likeable character: Joseph’s distance and absence does allow her own adventures (and she also quickly realises their marriage isn’t going to work), and despite mishaps, she flourishes in their new homeland.
I’m not sure exactly what it was about this book that made me read it so fast – I think probably the characters and the slow revelation of their former lives, as well as my intrigue about New Zealand – where I didn’t realise there’d been a gold rush (I’ve honestly never thought about it before but I don’t feel like it’s very well publicised – gold rush is something I’d associate more with America or Australia). Having not been to New Zealand, I also enjoyed reading about its landscape and climate (which I didn’t realise was so extreme for some reason) – on reflection I wouldn’t say this was the most stimulating book and I’m not sure how much I’d recommend it, but I did really enjoy it – so a paradoxical conclusion for you.