Band of Gold
Band of Gold
(HarperCollins Publishers NZ, 2010) # 1 Bestseller
It’s 1854, and the Katipo is moored in Melbourne’s Yarra River being overhauled. Her cargo has been sold and there is plenty of money, until Kitty discovers that Rian has just spent most of it on a claim on the Ballarat goldfields. So off they go – Kitty, Rian, their 14-year-old daughter Amber and the Katipo’s entire crew – to try their hands at gold mining.
Ballarat is wild and verging on lawless, and digging for the precious gold is more challenging than expected. Finally, though, Rian and the crew’s muddy endeavours begin to pay off. Kitty reconnects with old friend Flora Langford and goes into business with her, and also encounters flamboyant Lily Pearce, owner of a seedy Ballarat bawdy-house, who, to Kitty’s ire, sets her cap at Rian.
Then everything begins to unravel. Protest against the colonial government is on the rise and the military arrive. One day, Amber goes missing, then Rian is at the centre of a fatal
tragedy that drives Kitty to make a terrible mistake. Terrified that she has lost her husband forever, she embarks on a mad dash to Melbourne to seek the help of powerful Chinese businessman Wong Kai, and pays a price that may almost be too big to bear.
Behind this book…
A few years ago, I was considering a story about Kitty and Rian set in the goldfields of Otago. For plot reasons, they have to already be familiar with goldmining, and the people of the goldfields, so I needed to write a sort of prelude, which is Band of Gold. And, really, what better place for them to have gained that goldmining experience than Ballarat, Australia? I’d heard that Sovereign Hill, Ballarat’s outdoor museum, is fairly amazing, so I went there and it is amazing, and gave me a fascinating glimpse of Ballarat in the 1850s and ’60s. And there’s plenty of evidence to show that miners from the Australian goldfields crossed the Tasman to also try their luck on New Zealand fields, so there’s that nice connection, which will come through in the fourth Kitty and Rian book, when the time comes to write it.
‘An experienced author and professional historian, Deborah Challinor weaves an enthralling historical romance set in an utterly realistic backdrop of old Ballarat.’
Daily Post, 1/1/2011
‘This novel is as captivating as [Kitty and Amber], and gives a colourful insight of what life on the goldfields, and early Melbourne, might have been. Band of Gold is hard to put down – the characterisation and suspense are superb. This editor can hardly wait for its sequel.’
Heritage Matters, Spring, 2010
‘Challinor seamlessly reintroduces relevant characters and their stories from previous books where needed. Her historian background means that, along with the ups and downs of daily life for the Farrell clan, the reader also learns in fascinating detail aspects of goldfield culture … The author’s skill is masterful in, for instance, building character, authentic language and setting of the time, and showing, not telling – the way a fresh onion is split speaks volumes!’
Nelson Mail, 31/7/2010
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