On 3 February 1931, Napier is devastated by a powerful earthquake – and Tamar Murdoch, beloved matriarch of Kenmore, is seriously injured. As she recovers, Tamar is preoccupied with the ongoing effects of the Great Depression. When her grandson threatens to leave for Spain to join the International Brigade, she feels a familiar dread – once again her family is threatened by war and heartbreak, as Hitler’s armies march.
In the final volume of the Tamar trilogy, the story of the feisty Cornish seamstress who became a brothelkeeper and landowner is brought to a stirring and memorable conclusion.
More war, but not quite the same as World War One, and this time Tamar’s grandchildren go off to fight. But I also wanted to have a good look at land girls, and war brides, and, for some reason, the work that Sir Archibald McIndoe did – wanting to show how someone managed to turn tragedy into hope, I suppose. This was the last in the trilogy, and I left it to readers to decide who finally came to meet Tamar. I certainly couldn’t make a decision like that.
‘Being an historian, having a consummate ability for storytelling and using local settings and vernacular confirm Deborah Challinor as an established New Zealand novelist. Blue Smoke provides a stirring conclusion to the [Tamar] trilogy.’
Bookshelf, September, 2004
Large Print (F.A. Thorpe)