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A Doubtful Detour by Anya Forest. Pub. www.anyaforest.com

March 1, 2021 Comments off

This historical time travel novel took me a while to read because of the amazing detail it gives about life in the Fiordland National park during the 1920,s and 1960’s. Fiordland is the major character in this novel with it’s mountains, fiords, rivers, waterfalls, dense bush, rain and unique animal life.

This is a sequel to the novel Home from the Homer also reviewed on this blog, and features 13 year old twins Seth and Zoe and their parents who travel south of the Homer to Doubtful Sound and Deep Cove. As with the earlier novel they slip into different time zones and experience life in the raw in the early days.

Seth slips into the 1920’s when tourism was starting to develop in Fiordland as is hunting. He meets several famous characters particularly Leslie Murrell a hunter and tourist developer of the 1920’s and Vivian Donald who had a company that developed the first woolpress in NZ. Seth accompanies them on a hunting and sailing trip that takes him down Doubtful sound to the ocean and trips to Dusky sound and the Puysegur Point lighthouse which was built in 1879 and burnt to the ground in 1942. He travels on a famous boat the Constance and takes part on the first licensed hunting for wapiti trip in 1923. he also comes across a whale and the rareTawaki or Firodland crested penguin.

Zoe has a totally different trip in Doubtful Sound and West Arm where the Manapouri Power Station was being built. Her main companion there was Sister Josie a nurse on board the Wanganella passenger ship that was home to over 400 men who built the Manapouri complex. The Wanganella had a gymnasium and a cinema for over 400 men when spitting on the deck meant you were fired. She travels inside Machine Hall a huge place carved into the rock that house all the turbines that made the power from the Manapouri scheme.

There are many tales like this in this novel and all are accompanied by superb photographs and documents of the times. The characters, the transport, the wildlife and the landscape and seascape of the wonder that is fiordland.

I can say no more find out the rest for yourself you will not be disappointed. Of course there is the mystery of the time travel and whether or not the family will find each other again.

Home from the Homer by Anya Forest

May 23, 2019 Comments off

home homerHome from the Homer by Anya Forest. Pub. Anya Forest 2018.

The magnificent cover of this novel showing the Haast Eagle, the Fiordland Moose and the Homer Tunnel puts you right in the heart of this novel before you have turned a page.

For those of you who do not know New Zealand and even those who do, will be blown away by the Fiordland setting of this story.

Zoe and Seth are 12 year old twins and quite different from each other. They go with their parents on a holiday to Fiordland passing through the Homer tunnel on their way to Milford Sound. The area has magnificent scenery, it rains heavily and it has a mysterious past with some of the animals that inhabited this area but are now extinct. In this novel they all come alive.

When the family pass through the Homer Tunnel they know things are not quite right, and as they exit they look back and the tunnel is gone. They have slipped into another time zone before the tunnel was built and they meet characters famous in the history of fiordland like John Christie the chief surveyor of the Homer tunnel project in the 1930’s.

Both Seth and Zoe get separated in different time zones going back to the 19th century and have their own adventures which are going to impact on their lives after they return to the present. Read it and see who else they meet.

I loved their encounters with the Haast Eagle, the Fiordland moose, the Kakapo, the Piopio and the lost Tribe but the bonus is the respectful and understanding relationships that they have with the people they meet.

There are historical photographs and drawings of some extinct animals and of the pioneers of the region.

Further contact to anyaforest@xtra.co.nz