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Article  •  19 February 2024


Real Readers Review: The Space Between

Find out what readers really think of Lauren Keenan's historical fiction debut The Space Between

Highly recommended for historical fiction buffs, those wanting to learn more about NZ history, or anyone looking for a great story.

- Marija, Scorpio Books


This exploration of love, loss, and the intricate dynamics between the tangata whenua - and the colonisers from Europe who have settled in Aotearoa New Zealand, is a skillful weaving of storylines and complex characters that had me hooked from beginning to end.

- Meg, Goodreads (full review here)


I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction especially told from women's point of view, and I feel the author has brought a period of Aotearoa /New Zealand history alive as many of us did not learn of the history while at school.

- Lesley, Goodreads (full review here)


The Space Between is the book I have been waiting for, without even knowing I had been waiting. It’s historical fiction with women protagonists but set, hurray, in New Zealand. For fans of authors like Phillippa Gregory and Diana Gabaldon, here at last is the Aotearoa iteration.

This book is simultaneously entertaining, enjoyable, terrifyingly depressing, and enlightening - but perfectly a New Zealand story.

- Tiffany, Goodreads (full review here)


Lauren’s writing is very delicate and informative, it felt like I was listening to one of my aunties tell me a story back home on my Mārae.

- Sabrina, Goodreads (full review here)


This book is an essential addition to every Kiwi's library, offering a poignant exploration of colonial New Zealand through the overlooked perspectives of women on the fringes of society. It's a profoundly moving and heart-wrenching journey that seeks to foster empathy in readers, shedding light on the profound impact of colonialism on the indigenous people of Aotearoa.

- Klee, Goodreads (full review here)


Obsessed with the use of te reo Māori throughout, and that not everything was translated, encouraging the reader to seek out the meaning themselves to fully understand how words or phrases were being used in context.

- Libby, Goodreads (full review here)


This book is everything you want from historical fiction. I hope Lauren Keenan continues to write historical fiction because I would very much like to read some more from her!

- Kelly, Goodreads (full review here)


The novel has a similar narrative structure to Jenny Pattrick’s Harboring, with both stories centred around a Pākehā Woman and a Wāhine Māori in the 19th Century. But Lauren Keenan's characters feel more authentic, and in particular, the character Matāria gives a feeling of a genuine connection and insight into Te Ao Māori.

- Alison, Goodreads (full review here)


I loved this uniquely NZ book, but absolutely recommend it to anyone as the issues and struggles will resonate beyond NZ.

- Angelique, Goodreads (full review here)


This book allowed me to gain a deeper level of understanding and empathy while enjoying a good story and I feel it is a worthwhile addition to NZ's literary collection.

- Meredith, Goodreads (full review here)


A heartbreaking story of two POVs set during the Māori land wars in Taranaki, Aotearoa.

- Mrs Moa, Goodreads (full review here)


A refreshing experience to read a novel set in this interesting historical time, and pleasing to see it brought to life in a way that will appeal to readers beyond the very historically literate.

- Claire, Goodreads (full review here)


I loved this book. I loved the setting. I loved the characters. I loved the weaving of whakataukī and te reo Māori throughout the English text.

- Bailey, Goodreads (full review here)


You can tell this is written by a historian as the details Keenan picks up on in her prose really bring the era to life. I think this would be a great read for anyone seeking to understand what led to the Land Wars and their ongoing conflicts.

- Olivia, Storygraph (full review here)


Set in New Zealand’s tumultuous time of colonial settlement and the Land Wars, this is a cracking good read because, through the viewpoints of two women of vastly different cultures, it consistently poses the question every great historical fiction novel should ask: “what did it feel like to live through that?”.

- Marg, Goodreads (full review here)


I appreciated the amount of historical facts, Māori language, and context included within the story.

- Christy, Goodreads (full review here)


Keenan has delivered a wonderful tale in an honest and authentic setting.

- Kate, Goodreads (full review here)


The author with her extensive historical knowledge of this time of conflict opens a window into the past with her narrative.

- Margaret, Goodreads (full review here


The Space Between is not merely a story; it is an exploration of the human condition, inviting readers to contemplate the difficulties faced by minorities in the aftermath of colonisation.

- Savannah, Goodreads (full review here)


I struggled to put this book down as I kept wanting to find out what happens next.

- Maria, Storygraph (full review here)

The Space Between Lauren Keenan

A gripping historical novel set amid the New Zealand Wars in 1860.

As English settlers wage war upon local iwi in colonial Taranaki, two women confront their pasts to survive the present.

Frances is an unmarried Londoner newly landed in New Zealand, 1860, at the dawn of the First Taranaki War. Once well-regarded, her family’s fall from grace sees them struggling to learn the strange etiquette of settler life.

Buy now

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