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The Story of a New Zealand River

Jane Mander

Book Overview: 

"This is the land of the lost, one of those happy spots where no questions are asked. Of course, the fact of a person's being here is usually all the explanation necessary." The Story of a New Zealand River is a romance set in the Northland region of New Zealand, in the time when the forests of New Zealand's grandest tree, the kauri, were being logged for their exquisite timber. The novel begins as Alice Roland and her free-spirited daughter Asia are being rowed in a black punt by handsome and cultured David Bruce up the Kaipara harbour to their new home at a raw kauri logging settlement in a bend of the Kaiwaka river. Tom Roland, a rough colonial and the boss of the settlement, is Alice's husband of a few years. Alice is a beautiful but tight-laced, proud, puritanical Englishwoman whose mismatch with Tom Roland is not a happy one. They arrive with Alice's piano among their belongings to find a half-built cottage, a strange collection of inhabitants, from gentry to scoundrels, and a place that is beautiful and challenging. Jane Mander was a New Zealand novelist and journalist. As well as New Zealand, she also lived in Sydney, New York and London. There is a superficial resemblance between The Story of a New Zealand River and the Jane Campion film The Piano, which is principally the setting and the piano.

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Community Reviews

I loved this book by a NZ writer who writes in a setting in NZ's far north during the early settlement of the country.

Weeeeeell, that was sad. And not so sad. And sad again. And stuff.
The writing is beautiful, though, so that's enough for me.

Where to begin? As a reading adventure, this book was great. I love the way it presented the "pioneer" period in New Zealand, and was actually written in 1920. Alice, the main protagonist is sometimes extremely annoying, but that is because she is so real! She seems to represent the women of the era

I’m surprised that this author has not had the prominence amongst well-loved and acclaimed NZ authors that I think she deserves. I only discovered this book after hearing a very positive radio review about it and was intrigued, given I had never even heard of this author. For me, Mander’s writing st

I really enjoyed this book for its history and even though it is a little bit of a romance it is enticing and toatlly enjoyable. I am proud to own this book.

One of the only times in literature where I've found that the male love interest is not out for personal gain of the female protagonist. One of the most stellar books I've read in a long time! The dynamic between mother and daughter take this story to a personal level for me and many of us who were

I wanted to read a book from a local author and Jane Mander is as local as you can get (to me that is... she lived in the same city as I do). I really enjoyed this read, but why people seem to connect this book as the inspiration for the NZ movie "The Piano," I'm not so sure. They are similar storie

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