The Book of Secrets
A classic, prize-winning novel about an epic migration and a lone woman haunted by the past in frontier Waipu.
In the 1850s, a group of settlers established a community at Waipu in the northern part of New Zealand. They were led there by a stern preacher, Norman McLeod. The community had followed him from Scotland in 1817 to found a settlement in Nova Scotia, then subsequently to New Zealand via Australia. Their incredible journeys actually happened, and in this winner of the New Zealand Book Awards, Fiona Kidman breathes life and contemporary relevance into the facts by creating a remarkable fictional story of three women entangled in the migrations - Isabella, her daughter Annie and granddaughter Maria. McLeod's harsh leadership meant that anyone who ran counter to him had to live a life of secrets. The 'secrets' encapsulated the spirit of these women in their varied reactions to McLeod's strict edicts and connect the past to the present and future.
This new edition is being published to mark the 160th anniversary of the arrival of the settlers in Waipu, New Zealand.
Fiona Kidman has written more than twenty books, mainly novels and collections of short stories. Her most recent novel, The Captive Wife, was a joint winner of the Readers' Choice Award and a finalist for the Deutz Medal for Fiction at the 2006 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Trouble with Fire has been shortlisted for the 2012 NZ Post Book Awards and the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. She has been awarded a number of prizes, honours and fellowships, including the Mobil Short Story Award, the Victoria University Writers Fellowship, and the OBE for services to literature. In 2006 she was the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton, France. In 2008 she was the Creative New Zealand Michael King Fellow. Fiona Kidman is a Dame Commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit, a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. She lives in Wellington.