Isle of Tears
(HarperCollins Publishers NZ, 2009) # 1 bestseller
Premier New Zealand Bestseller Award: BRONZE


When armed conflict drives a wedge between Maori and Pakeha, not everyone can choose sides easily. For Isla McKinnon, the choices are bitter. Taken in by local Maori when her parents are brutally murdered, she has grown to womanhood and taken a Maori husband. In a thrilling tale of love and loss from the land wars – when simmering tensions between Maori and the encroaching Pakeha settlements exploded into bloody warfare – love and trust are put cruelly to the test. Separated from her husband and her family, Isla must learn to survive in both worlds. Inevitably, she must decide between them, and lose part of her heart forever.


Behind this book…
There are a good handful of books around about the ‘strategy and weapons’ side of the New Zealand Wars, but not much about the impact on those who fought in them, Maori or European. Well, not enough, anyway. I wanted to write from the Maori perspective, but didn’t feel I could with any real authority, because I’m not Maori. So I wrote through the eyes of Isla, my Scottish protagonist, which seemed to me to be the best compromise I could come up with.

‘Deborah Challinor’s new historical novel is exactly what her fans are waiting for: A thrilling and romantic story that breathes life into a stormy period of New Zealand’s past….This is classic Challinor.
Next Reading Club, April/May 2009


‘Deborah is a great storyteller and…she sweeps the reader along with the drama. With considerable empathy for the Maori position, it is a very enlightening account of the land wars and would make a great film.’
Northern Advocate, April 2009

‘New Zealand author Deborah Challinor certainly spins a fine yarn…A great historical novel that looks at divided family, trust, love and loss.
Hawkes Bay Today, May 2009

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