The Land of Greenstone Water: A Tale of Rural New Zealand in the 1930s

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Arena Books, 2013 - Fiction - 148 pages
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A vivid story of life in rural England and New Zealand in the 1930s: 17-year old Harriet is a maid at Larwood, which belongs to Richard Odson. His dilemma is that he has only one relative, a hated nephew, Napier. Odson is amused by Harriet, for her lack of respect for his lofty status and decides to leave everything to her. Although they are poor - Harriet has eight sisters - she refuses to accept the inheritance - "better be poor than be labelled a gold digger." Odson writes a letter to her father asking for permission to marry her. This is intercepted by his housekeeper who informs Napier. Next day Harriet has no job and Odson is dead. Napier stalks her and attempts to rape her. She hits him with a stone and ruptures his eye. He swears that he'll kill her. She is sent to New Zealand to marry a sheep farmer McBride, a widower with two grown up sons, Ninian and Jock. His house, Kauri Mansion, in Central Otago is a dilapidated place. After the initial shock of seeing it she persuades McBride to carry out proper repairs whilst she is engaged in spring cleaning the property. Suspicious and fearful in her new environment, she sleeps with the door propped up with a chair, and a loaded gun. After six years, Napier finds her and says that this time he'll rape her and then slowly dismember her body. McBride comes to protect her and although a strong man, Napier beats him to the ground. Harriet shoots Napier and buries him. McBride dies from his injuries. When Ninian and Jock return from Dunedin where Jock was taking his GCE exams, Harriet asks to be taken to the police and asks the boys to look after her children, expecting to be hanged for shooting Napier.....

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