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The best-selling and fascinating novel about New Zealand's first Chinese settlers.

A gripping story of love and deception on the Otago Gold Fields of nineteenth-century New Zealand.

Arrowtown, a goldfield settlement with an explosive mix of inhabitants, is the scene of an unlikely love story.

Ming Yuet, a young Chinese woman seeking riches disguises herself as a male miner and comes to the goldfields, where she meets Conran, an Orcadian stonemason escaping a family tragedy. A secret love affair develops amidst suspicion, fear and hostility, culminating in an act of violence that irrevocably shatters the lives of those involved.

Maxine Alterio's beautiful novel about love, forgiveness, alienation and friendship moves between past and present, homeland and adopted country, and from the living to the deceased . . .


First-time Dunedin novelist Maxine Alterio has created a voice that is utterly distinctive and believable.


Perfectly written . . . a beautifully crafted, believable novel.

Hawke's Bay Today

A new novelist, one with significant talent . . . Alterio's skill in blending factual historical information into her fiction is impressive and gives the story great credibility.

Beattie's Book Blog

A tender yet tragic love story.

Otago Daily Times

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    February 14, 2008


    272 pages

    RRP $30.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook


    February 14, 2008

    Penguin eBooks

    276 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia NZ

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