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The Colour by Rose Tremain

The Colour (2003)

by Rose Tremain

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
896499,849 (3.8)311
  1. 20
    The Secret River by Kate Grenville (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: More Antipodean colonial pioneers
  2. 00
    The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Anonymous user)
  3. 00
    The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton by Jane Smiley (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both these books focus on pioneer women, whose previous lives have done nothing to prepare them for the new difficulties and tasks which face them, and how they match up to their new life.
  4. 00
    Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Similar (literally) 'builing a new life' story on the other side of the world. Roderick Blackstone (The Colour) has a gambling "System"/debts

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» See also 311 mentions

English (47)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All (49)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Review: The Colour by Rose Tremain. 05/05/2017

This was a pleasant satisfying historical fiction story. The book was well-written and the characters were accurately created for there roles. I found it inspirational and thought provoking. The story also gave feminism a little boost off and on and suggested the responsibility for one man to face the truth about himself.

---“The Colour ends with a clear message: those who face life with a sense of entitlement (whether based on their gender, race, social status, or sense of victim hood) will find life futile and meaningless, while those who face life’s challenges with hope, courage and kindness will prosper both and spiritually and materially.”----

The setting of this story was in New Zealand during the gold rush in the 1800’s. Joseph and Harriet Blackstone are newlyweds. Joseph bought uncultivated land in rugged New Zealand to build a new home for his wife and his mother. The people who were constructing his home told Joseph it was the wrong location and that he should build at a lower level to shield their home from the weather of the wide openness. Joseph is a stubborn man and he feels he has chosen the right location. Plus, he decided he wants the home made out of cob material which is only lumps of clay and dirt that would never hold together during high winds or the Winter weather. However, Joseph new what he wanted and was not about to change his mind. He intends to raise livestock and crops so where he was located he had to make a trench through his prosperity to get water to flow from the river (that he named after his wife Harriet) into a running creek that he was creating.

A day came when he discovered a spot in the creek that was yellow and turns out to be gold. Keeping it a secret from his wife and mother he worked at the creek day after day and came to the conclusion there was no more than the small pouch mostly of gold sand and a few small nuggets he collected. It was enough for Joseph to get obsessed with the colour of gold. Deserting his wife and mother he decides to set off alone for the goldfields over the Southern Alps where many other men thought they could prosper and become rich.

With leaving behind his wife and mother he never gave it a thought he was leaving them in danger. Many more hardships unfolded while he was away and the women suffered. As the story goes on you will read the experiences Joseph was having panning for gold and how the rest of the story unraveled because of his stubbornness… ( )
  Juan-banjo | May 11, 2017 |
Published in 2003, this book is set in the 1864 Goldrush of New Zealand. It is the story of Joseph and Harriet Blackstone and Lillian Blackstone, Joseph's mother who immigrate to New Zealand. For Joseph it is an escape, for Harriet it is an adventure and for Lillian it is loss of all her life was. I think the author's early chapters were the best. She used weather; the wind and rain to create context. We slowly are let into the secrets that Joseph harbors in his soul. We learn from Harriet that she finally realizes that she married a selfish man. We see a marriage that never really comes together because Joseph only used Harriet for the strength to take this daring trip to New Zealand like he used the boy to go to the gold fields to seek his fortune. I liked how the story was crafted but I felt that the weak parts were the parts that involved Pare. There was an element of magical realism but I never really got why it was included other than to give us a picture of the Maori people. The strength of a good marriage that Dorothy and Toby had was a good contrast to the sham of marriage of Joseph and Harriet. The section that actually was about the gold fields was ugly. Dark and ugly. The picture of dirt, mud, clay and the dirty, foul conditions of the human beings that were digging for the gold was an ugly picture. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 11, 2016 |
"Nothing here is ever quite as one has imagined it", 28 Sept. 2014
sally tarbox

This review is from: The Colour (Paperback)
Opening with a young English couple (plus his reluctant mother) building their first home in New Zealand, with the aim of establishing a farm. We are soon aware that husband Joseph has something in his past back home, from which he has run away... Wife Harriet, meanwhile, a former governess, seems to have married less for love than for the adventure of this new life...
While Harriet is befriending a better-off local family, with their strange little boy Edwin, Joseph is beguiled by the possibilities of gold prospecting....
I enjoyed this, overall, but towards the end it seemed to become highly unbelievable. From the whole Edwin/ Pare story to Harriet's chick-lit conclusion, it clashed with the much stronger first part. However I thought Ms Tremain did an excellent job at depicting the harsh and filthy conditions of the Gold Rush. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
Beautifully written.
1 vote jkrnomad | Jul 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
It's an engrossing novel, an adventure story with a sensitive side; Robert Louis Stevenson with a fit of the vapours. Since Tremain's writing is celebrated for its richness, its sensuousness, it's a relief to report that the comparatively muted colours of The Colour are no obstacle to her readability. If anything, they allow it to shine even more brightly.

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tremain, Roseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bron, EleanorNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Gold diggings disorganise society, induce a moral blight, divert activity from saner enterprise and encourage a disagreeable immigration of the scum of China. ~ Lyttleton Times, New Zealand

Gold has been all in all to us. ~ West Coast Times, New Zealand
For the Domino team, with all my love
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The coldest winds came from the south and the Cob House had been built in the pathway of the winds.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312423101, Paperback)

Newlyweds Joseph and Harriet Blackstone emigrate from England to New Zealand, along with Joseph's mother Lilian, in search of new beginnings and prosperity. But the harsh land near Christchurch where they settle threatens to destroy them almost before they begin. When Joseph finds gold in a creek bed, he hides the discovery from both his wife and mother, and becomes obsessed with the riches awaiting him deep in the earth. Abandoning his farm and family, he sets off alone for the new goldfields over the Southern Alps, a moral wilderness where many others, under the seductive dreams of the "colour," rush to their destinies and doom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

'The Colour' is a sweeping saga of sacrifice and greed set during the mid-nineteenth century gold rush in New Zealand.

» see all 2 descriptions

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