Book Review: Charlotte and the Golden Promise, by Sandy McKay

cv_charlotte_and_the_golden_promiseAvailable in bookstores now.

Charlotte and the Golden Promise is the third book in the popular new series, New Zealand Girl. A new book, a new girl, a new moment in time. The year is 1865, and Charlotte McIntyre is desperate for adventure. During school lessons she dreams of digging for treasure in the goldfields of Hogburn Gully.

Charlotte’s mother is having yet another baby, and soon she will need her eldest daughter to leave school and help her with the cooking, cleaning and sewing.  Charlotte can’t imagine anything worse. If only they could afford to hire a maid to help with the housework…Then Charlotte has an idea – an idea that could save her from a lifetime of sewing pillowslips and feeding crying babies.

In the dead of night, she packs her bag and runs away to Hogburn Gully with her best friend Cyril, to pan for gold. Charlotte imagines the fields are awash with gold – it would surely take no time at all to find some and return home. However, Hogburn Gully is not what she expected. There are thugs and thieves and gold seems scarce. Will Charlotte have to return home empty-handed?

Charlotte and the Golden Promise is a story about bravery, friendship, and how the most valuable thing in life isn’t gold and precious stones. Author Sandy McKay skillfully captures the tension, thrill and hope of an 1860’s goldfield in New Zealand. Informative and addictive, this book will have you dreaming of adventure in vast, dusty goldmines, over a hundred years ago.

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon

Charlotte and the Golden Promise
by Sandy McKay
Published by Penguin NZ
ISBN 9780143307723

Book Review: Hene and the Burning Harbour, by Paula Morris

This book is available in bookstores now.

When Hene’s parents send her away from the pacv_hene_and_the_burning_harbour, Hene knows that life will be difficult.  A new disease is spreading fast across the village.  When her brother Taehi catches it, Hene has no choice but to leave and live with the missionaries.

Hene is thrown into a world vastly different from her own.  Far from her family, she has to attend school, learn to sew and wear a heavy dress.  Times are tense, and more than anything she wishes to go home- but when she meets a mysterious girl called Rangi, Hene can’t help but be curious.  Why is she so secretive about living in Kororareka?

Soon Hene makes friends with Rangi, and is beginning to settle into her temporary home- but then Hone Heke attacks Kororareka.  Hene sees smoke rising into the air from the other side of the bay- the town has been set on fire; and Rangi is alone there.  If Hene wants to save her friend, she must risk danger and face her fears to reach the burning harbour.

Hene and the Burning Harbour is the second book in the ‘New Zealand Girl’ series.  Similar to the ‘My Story’ series, but targeted at a slightly younger age group, ‘New Zealand Girl ‘teaches children (girls aged 7 to 12 in particular) what it was like to live in certain periods of New Zealand history as a child.  These novels are written using fresh perspectives and an enthralling style that will have you turning pages in total rapture.

Reviewed by Tierney Reardon

Hene and the Burning Harbour
by Paula Morris
Published by Penguin Books (Puffin)
ISBN 9780143307730