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The Book of Secrets by Fiona Kidman
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The Book of Secrets (1988)

by Fiona Kidman

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This story backgrounds the arrival of the Scottish settlers in Waipu, Northland NZ. We follow their voyage from Scotland through the diaries of Isabella MacQuarrie, narrated by her granddaughter, Maria. A group of Scottish migrants left the Highlands of Scotland with charismatic and domineering, Norman McLeod, travelling first to Novia Scotia, then on to Cape Breton, then Australia before finally settling in Waipu. They hold Scottish celebrations there annually still and this book goes some way to telling of the trials and tribulations they suffered on the way. Fiona Kidman brings to life the experiences of the women especially, in this tale of what really amounted to an early religious sect. ( )
  HelenBaker | May 14, 2012 |
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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.… (more)

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