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A journey back into the past, to the other side of the world . . .

Under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, love, lies and disenchantment lead to a menacing showdown in this suspense-filled novel.

A foreigner is seriously injured not far from Julia's safe Queenstown hideaway.

Why does he have her name in his wallet?

His unexpected arrival takes Julia back forty-five years to London, where as an impulsive young woman she first met Benito Moretti - a meeting that was to change her life, taking her to the glittering Gulf of Naples. There Julia found herself pitted against her belligerent mother-in-law and Benito’s sinister brother in a lethal battle for her husband and children.

Julia remembered her father saying, We’re all as sick as our secrets. Words that still haunt her.


. . . a wrenching, emotional, tension-filled story about family secrets, cultural expectations and hidden corruptions. . . . How Julia winds up separated for decades from her son and how she ends up alone in New Zealand (a place where she is, as she tells us, "a better version" of herself) far from all those she loves and holds dear, are the mysteries that this compelling novel unravels for us.

Maggie trapp, Weekend Herald

This novel is hard to put down as it is so full of menace. While I sometimes questioned Julia's decisions and her continued insistence on staying in Italy, she is convincingly a character of her time. The mystery that links the incident in 1994 with the family's struggles in the 1950s is resolved through a gut-wrenching twist. There is heartbreak, horror, determination and sacrifice in this novel. A fast-paced, engaging read.

Louise Ward, Napier Courier

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    April 2, 2019


    304 pages

    RRP $38.00

    Online retailers

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

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook


    April 2, 2019

    Penguin eBooks

    304 pages

    Online retailers

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


Sirens are wailing in the distance, a rarity in Queenstown, at any hour, day or night. I’m inside my home on the rise, surrounded by mountains and the commanding vista of Lake Wakatipu, about to wash the breakfast dishes, feeling sleep-deprived and out of sorts.

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Book Clubs
The Gulf Between - Book Club Guide

NZ author Maxine Alterio shares with us her love for book clubs plus questions you can use with your friends and family when you read her new novel, The Gulf Between.

Also by Maxine Alterio