The Overlanders by Janet Heads


The year is 1853. Peter Paterson wants to escape England and the claustrophobic class system. Tall and handsome, he could have any woman he wanted, but the one he wanted was promised to someone else. His sister Sarah also found herself trapped, her life mapped out before her, pushing her into marriage and having children.

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Peter wants to go to New Zealand, a new colony far away from England. Sarah is determined to go. Why not? She can do anything a man can do. Or can she?

Andrew Mackenzie becomes their travelling companion. The Scottish Captain is tall and handsome but he has his own agenda. A wife and children is not for him. On meeting this upstart of a girl who thinks she can do the same as men, irritates him. A woman should behave in a certain way and definitely not travel rough over land. Sarah finds Andrew arrogant.

Confusion reigns between the pair with Peter having to intervene on occasions. The three accompanied by their Maori guides travel over land from Auckland to Wellington then on to Dunedin, where danger and testing times intervenes, forcing them to rely on each other.

The three search for a place to settle, to leave their demons behind and find peace. Will they find what they are looking for or will they abandon their dream and catch a ship home to England?

Based on a diary written by a Captain Francis Mackenzie, while in New Zealand, in 1853.


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