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Post by AuntiePam » Sun December 7th, 2008, 7:16 pm

Including New Zealand --

One of my favorite historical novels is English Passengers by Matthew Kneale. It's told from several different points of view. It's funny, dark, raw, and tragic. I learned about it from someone who works in a bookstore. She recommends it often and everyone thanks her for it. Great book.

Another good one with a romantic element is The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCollough.

And The Secret River by Kate Grenville. Boy, that book didn't go where I wanted it to go.

I think the history of Australia is fascinating and I'd love some more recommendations.

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Post by annis » Sun December 7th, 2008, 7:22 pm

You might like to know that Kate grenville has another book out with a similar setting to Secret Rver", in fact it feels pretty much like a follow-up to that novel. It's called "The Lieutenant" and is about a young English officer sent to the penal colony of Australia in the eighteenth century, and his struggle to reconcile his duty as a soldier with his growing sympathy for the native Aboriginal people.

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Post by diamondlil » Sun December 7th, 2008, 7:51 pm

There is a review of The Lieutenant in the Book Review section.

Another option for Australian historical fiction including the trilogy from Bryce Courtenay that starts with The Potato Factory.
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Post by Ariadne » Mon December 8th, 2008, 3:03 am

I read Zana Bell's Forbidden Frontier earlier this year (despite the title, it's not a romance novel). The main character is Charlotte Badger, a convict transported to Australia in the early 19th century who later became a pirate and the first white woman to arrive in New Zealand. I'll repost my review in the book review section.

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Post by Margaret » Mon December 8th, 2008, 4:43 am

There are bunches of Australia/New Zealand novels on the Australasia page at HistoricalNovels.info. Unfortunately, the majority of them are readily available only in Australia and New Zealand - some of them look really interesting, too. Catherine Jinks is one who is also published in the U.S., and Annis has contributed a review of The Gentleman's Garden. Colleen McCullough's The Thornbirds is good, but I was lukewarm about The Touch, which felt superficial to me. Peter Carey's novels (Oscar and Lucinda was made into a movie) are available in the U.S. Since the success of the movie The Whale Rider, based on New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera's YA novel of the same name, his other novels have become more available in the U.S.
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Post by Caveowl » Mon December 8th, 2008, 5:14 am

Here's a list that I'd appreciate reading what other readers have to say

Bickmore, Barbara -- "Back of Beyond"
Brent, Madeleine -- "The Golden Urchin"
Butler, Richard -- "The Men That God Forgot"
Carey, Peter -- "The True History of the Kelly Gang"
Cato, Nancy -- Heart of the Continent"
Courtenay, Bryce -- "Potato Factory"
Eden, Dorothy -- "Vines of Yarrabee"
Lang, Maude -- "Summer Station"
McCullough, Colleen -- "Tim"
McKinley, Tamara -- "Matilda's Last Waltz"
Shaw, Patricia -- "Cry of the Rain Bird"
Shute, Nevil -- "Far Country"
Stuart, Vivian (aka William Long) -- The Exiles (Australians #1)
Wood, Barbara, "The Dreaming"

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Post by annis » Mon December 8th, 2008, 7:05 am

Another Nancy Cato, "All the Rivers Run", is also a good read and a bit of a classic.

I've got my name down at the library for Catherine Jinks' latest novel, which is a historical crime novel based on a true story.It's called"Dark Mountain".

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Post by pat » Mon December 8th, 2008, 11:30 am

The Waddie Tree by Kerry McGinnis is good too.
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Post by Diiarts » Tue August 24th, 2010, 7:25 pm

"Die a Dry Death", by Greta van der Rol, deals with the wreck of the Batavia merchantman off the coast of Australia in 1629.

In the interests of full disclosure I should say that it is one of our titles. I had the enormous privilege of editing it when we took it on. A thumping good read it is too, with wonderful clear-sighted handling of a harrowing episode in Australia's (and the Netherlands') history.
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Post by parthianbow » Tue August 24th, 2010, 8:05 pm

Caveowl - Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang was outstanding IMO.
Another great, but tragic, book is The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith by the Australian author Thomas Keneally (he of Schindler's Ark/List fame). It was also made in to an excellent film.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chant-Jimmie-Bl ... 69&sr=1-12
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