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A lively, unconventional love story set amid real figures from nineteenth-century theatre

The little French girl, Lily L'Alouette, was singing and dancing almost as soon as she could walk, and performing became as much a part of her as breathing. When she is left an orphan in an unfamiliar country after her parents have emigrated to New Zealand, it is performing in a circus that offers survival. Later she takes to the stage in both Australia and New Zealand, which is where she attracts the attention of two men. One is the faithful Jack Lacey; the other is the renowned pirate Bully Hayes. While Jack has to compete with both Bully and the theatre to win Lily's attention, Lily finds she must share Jack, too. This lively, unconventional love story is set amid real figures from nineteenth-century theatre, giving a vivid and entertaining picture of the life of actors and circus performers, of gold miners, of horse breeders, of colonial settlers. Filtered through a unique and intriguing narrative, it is page-turning, heart-warming and full of surprises.


I couldn't put it down. It is a great read from beginning to end, wonderful twists and turns, great characterisation, thrilling plot, another winner from NZ's most popular author. It will be at the top of the best-seller list within days.

Graeme Beattie, Beattie's Book Blog

Pattrick writes with the assuredness of a veteran. She creates an authentic stage for a cast of characters who interact in ways that always ring true.

Mike Crean, The Christchurch Press

The descriptions of the Whanganui - its extraordinary beauty and vicious tongue - are woven through with the author's knowledge of the physical, cultural and historical life of the river; and incidents on the water are vividly and compellingly drawn, right down to the changing currents. The river defines the action of the novel, and flows through the characters' veins.

Mary McCallum, NZ Listener on Landings

A wonderful blend of history and fictitious characters that takes you back to a by-gone era. Lily leaves you frustrated, then draws sympathy from you – she’s a plucky, vibrant character and leads you through an amazing, theatrical slice of history.

Sue Reid, Paper Plus Masterton

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    June 1, 2012

    RHNZ Black Swan

    336 pages

    RRP $37.00

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    June 1, 2012

    RHNZ Adult ebooks

    336 pages

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Also by Jenny Pattrick

Leap of Faith
In Touch With Grace
Heart of Coal
Catching the Current
The Denniston Rose


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Beauty in Thorns
The 7th Function of Language
The Award
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Best Laid Plans
Fool Me Once
The Golden House
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Swing Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Life After Life
The Girls
Cold Blood
Fifty Shades Darker