Historical Novels: Australasia

Australia and New Zealand

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Australia
Mysteries set in Australia
New Zealand
Mysteries set in New Zealand


Australia and its surrounding islands were settled by colonists from the British Isles in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, beginning with a penal colony established on the site of the modern city of Sydney in 1788. Tasmania (known as Van Diemen's Land in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and now part of Australia) was also established as a British penal colony in the early 1800s. Transportation of convicts continued through the mid-1800s. Many free immigrants also settled in Australia and Tasmania, especially during the 1850s when they were attracted by the wool industry and a series of gold rushes.

The first Europeans to settle in New Zealand were Christian missionaries who came in the 1800s to convert the native Maori. The Maori initially welcomed European settlers, but as more and more flooded in, displacing the Maori, conflicts erupted into the Land Wars of the 1860s and 1870s. Native Australians, dubbed Aborigines by European settlers, did not fare well as colonization spread, but modern novelists recognize the positive aspects of their culture.



Australia


Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.


Belinda Alexandra, Silver Wattle, about two sisters who flee Prague for Australia in the 1920s and work in the Australian film industry

Fletcher Anthony, The Tiger and the Stone (also titled Eye of Stone), about a present-day Australian woman on a shamanic pilgrimage and a Stone-Age tribe that migrates from Java to Australia; #1 in the Inheritors series.

Fletcher Anthony, Gods of the Inferno, about a present-day Australian woman on a shamanic pilgrimage and a Stone-Age tribe that migrates from Java to Australia; #2 in the Inheritors series.

Fletcher Anthony, Spirits of the Earth, about a present-day Australian woman on a shamanic pilgrimage and a Stone-Age tribe that migrates from Java to Australia; #3 in the Inheritors series.

Patricia Stavely Baird, An Unlettered Girl: Her Life on the Gold Fields, about nineteenth century immigrants who came to Australia for the Victoria gold rush.

Carol Birch, Scapegallows (2007), about Margaret Catchpole, a woman twice sentenced to hang in eighteenth century England, who is transported to Australia where she becomes a pioneering colonist. Review from The Independent

Rolf Boldrewood, Robbery Under Arms: A Story of Life and Adventure in the Bush and in the Goldfields of Australia (1882), about a man who joined a gang of bushrangers and preyed on miners during the gold rush of the 1850s; Rolf Boldrewood was a pen name of Thomas Alexander Browne; contemporary at the time it was written; ebook online at The University of Adelaide website.

Robyn Lee Burrows, West of the Blue Gums, about a modern woman in an unhappy marriage who discovers a woman's diary from the 1870s

Robyn Lee Burrows, Tea-Tree Passage, about a couple who face challenges after the husband returns from the First World War to a changed Australia

Robyn Lee Burrows, Song From the Heart, a family saga that begins in nineteenth century Queensland and continues into the World War I period

Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang (2000), about the nineteenth century Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, seen as a murdering criminal by the police and as a hero by lower class Australians for his resistance of English domination; won the 2001 Man Booker Prize.

Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda (1988), about an Anglican priest and an Australian heiress, both compulsive gamblers, whose lives are changed when he bets her that he can transport a glass church 400 miles across New South Wales; won the 1988 Man Booker Prize.

Brian Castro, Birds of Passage, a literary novel about an Australian of Chinese ancestry who finds parallels between his life and that of his ancestor, who came to work in the gold fields but was driven out by racism and greed

Brian Castro, The Garden Book, a literary novel about a rare books librarian who pieces together the story of a woman of Chinese ancestry in an unhappy marriage who has a love affair with an aviator and architect during the years between the Depression and the Second World War


Nancy Cato, All the Rivers Run, about a woman orphaned by a shipwreck on her way to Australia, who lives by a river and becomes an artist, then a river boat captain; published in 1958; #1 in the Rivers trilogy.

Nancy Cato, Time, Flow Softly, about a woman living on the Murray River; published in 1959; #2 in the Rivers trilogy

Nancy Cato, But Still the Stream, about a woman living on the Murray River; published in 1962; #3 in the Rivers trilogy

Nancy Cato, Green Grows the Vine, about three girls who pick grapes on a vineyard in South Australia; published in 1960

Nancy Cato, Brown Sugar, a saga about a Presbyterian missionary family and a family that owns a vast sugar plantation in Queensland; published in 1974

Nancy Cato, Queen Trucanini, about the last Aboriginal woman on Tasmania; published in 1976

Nancy Cato, A Distant Island, about the Australian botanist Ronald Gunn; published in 1988

Nancy Cato, Forefathers, about the Australian ancestors beginning in 1824 of a young man in the 1960s.


Joy Chambers, Mayfield, about an orphaned young woman who learns to fend for herself in 1860s New South Wales, the wealthy landowner she marries, and the outlaw who holds up their coach on their wedding day

Marcus Clarke, For the Term of his Natural Life (1874), about convicts transported to Tasmania; contemporary when written.

Raymond W. Clarke, Hannah (2010), about Hannah Stanley, an English woman convicted of theft and transported to New South Wales in 1788, where she spent the rest of her life; self-published.

Matthew Condon, The Trout Opera (2009), about the life of an Australian man from his turn-of-the-century childhood on the Snowy River to the year 2000 when he is chosen to represent the "Old Man From Snowy River" in a pageant for the Olympics.

Bryce Courtenay, The Potato Factory, about an underworld kingpin in nineteenth century London who follows his wife and mistress to Australia when they are transported to a penal colony, because his wife has the other half of the combination to a safe stuffed with money; #1 in the Australian trilogy

Bryce Courtenay, Tommo & Hawk, about two boys who were kidnapped and separated at a young age but reunited as teenagers; #2 in the Australian trilogy

Bryce Courtenay, Solomon's Song, about the heir to a family business empire who tries to end the conflict between different sides of the family; #3 in the Australian trilogy

Bryce Courtenay, Jessica, about an unconventional young Australian woman's struggle for justice as World War I begins.

Josephine Cox, Outcast, about a girl in 1860 England whose dying father has entrusted both her and his fortune to his sister and her cruel husband; #1 in the Emma Grady trilogy

Josephine Cox, Alley Urchin, about a woman convicted of a crime she did not commit and transported to Australia, while the child she believes dead grows up as an alley urchin in England; #2 in the Emma Grady trilogy.

Josephine Cox, Vagabonds, about a woman who returns to England from Australia with her children and is hounded by her cruel uncle; #3 in the Emma Grady trilogy.

Mark Dapin, Spirit House (2013), about an Australian man's experiences in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp after the fall of Singapore during World War II, which he relates to his grandson many years later.

Eleanor Dark, The Timeless Land (1941), about a man who arrives in 1788 with the first ships of transported convicts, escapes, and takes a native Australian wife; #1 in the Timeless Land trilogy.

Eleanor Dark, Storm of Time, about a family struggling to survive in Sydney Cove in 1799; #2 in the Timeless Land trilogy; published in 1948

Eleanor Dark, No Barrier, about a family in the developing town at Sydney Cove as the discovery of a route over the barrier of the Blue Mountains offers the opportunity to move west; #3 in the Timeless Land trilogy; published in 1953

Robert Edric, Elysium , a literary novel about the battle of wits between the last full-blood native Tasmanian and the English scientist who interviews him in 1869.

M. Barnard Eldershaw, A House is Built (1929), about a nineteenth century merchant on the Sydney waterfront whose intense focus on building his business ends in a tragic irony.

Richard Flanagan, Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in 12 Fish, a literary novel about a convict on Sarah Island, off the Tasmanian coast, in the 1830s who creates an elaborate illustrated manuscript.

Aaron Fletcher, Outback, a family saga set in nineteenth century Australia; #1 in the Outback Saga

Aaron Fletcher, Outback II, a family saga set in nineteenth century Australia; #2 in the Outback Saga

Aaron Fletcher, Outback Station, a family saga set in nineteenth century Australia; #3 in the Outback Saga

Aaron Fletcher, Walkabout, a family saga set in nineteenth century Australia; #4 in the Outback Saga

Aaron Fletcher, Wallaby Track, a family saga set in nineteenth century Australia; #5 in the Outback Saga

Aaron Fletcher, Outback Legacy, a family saga set in early nineteenth century Australia; #6 in the Outback Saga

John Fletcher, A Far Country, about a young man shipwrecked off the coast of Australia and taken in by a native clan on the eve of conflict between Australian natives and white settlers

Miles Franklin, My Brilliant Career (1901), about a spirited girl growing into young womanhood in the outback of New South Wales; contemporary at the time it was written.

Kimberley Freeman, Wildflower Hill (2011), about a contemporary woman who inherits her grandmother's farm in Tasmania, and about her grandmother's life in the 1930s.

Kimberley Freeman, Lighthouse Bay (2013), love stories about a woman who survives a 1901 shipwreck off the coast of Australia's Lighthouse Bay and a present-day woman who leaves Paris to return to Lighthouse Bay, her hometown.

Catherine Gaskin, Sara Dane (1954), about a woman convict transported to Australia and her rise to become a landowner, ship owner, and pioneer of the wool industry.

Goldie Goldbloom, The Paperbark Shoe (2008; originally titled Toad's Museum of Freaks and Wonders), about an albino pianist and her husband whose lives are disrupted when two Italian prisoners of war arrive on their farm during World War II. Review at The Huffington Post

Evan Green, Adam's Empire, about an orphaned boy who grows up roaming the harsh and dangerous Outback during the early twentieth century


Kate Grenville, Lilian's Story, about a woman born into a middle-class Australian family in the early twentieth century, who ends up as "a cheerfully eccentric bag-lady living on the streets, quoting Shakespeare for a living."

Kate Grenville, Dark Places, a prequel to Lilian's Story which tells the same story from the perspective of Lilian's abusive father.

Kate Grenville, Joan Makes History, about an "everywoman" named Joan who witnessed all the famous events in Australian history and gives her irreverent perspective on what happened

Kate Grenville, The Secret River, about a pardoned convict in nineteenth century New South Wales who settles on acreage already occupied by native Australians; #1 in the Secret River trilogy.

Kate Grenville, The Lieutenant (2009), about an eighteenth century naval astronomer who lands on the unexplored shores of New South Wales with a ship carrying convicts for resettlement and becomes involved with an Aboriginal child; #2 in the Secret River trilogy.

Kate Grenville, Sarah Thornhill (2012), about the daughter of an ex-convict, now a wealthy landowner, and the family secrets that begin emerging when she falls in love; #3 in the Secret River trilogy.


Frank Hardy, Power Without Glory (1950), about Australian politics and the debate about conscription during World War I.

Ashley Hay, The Railwayman’s Wife (2014), about a widow, a poet and a doctor in New South Wales who struggle to cope with life in the aftermath of the war.

Ernestine Hill, My Love Must Wait, about Matthew Flinders, the nineteenth century explorer who left his young bride behind in England while he become the first man to circumnavigate Australia

Anna Jacobs, Lancashire Lass , about a young woman from England who emigrates to avoid being forced into an unpleasant marriage and migrates to the Peel Region of Western Australia.

Anna Jacobs, Lancashire Legacy , about an eighteen-year-old Australian girl who travels to England to meet relatives but is attacked on the docks and loses her memory; sequel to Lancashire Lass.

Catherine Jinks, The Gentleman’s Garden, about a nineteenth century English soldier's wife who goes to New South Wales with him and decides to create an English garden with the help of her convict servant. Review

Toni Jordan, Nine Days (2013), about nine members of a working-class Australian family during World War II. Review at The Age

Thomas Keneally, The Playmaker, a novel based on a true story, about convicts in New South Wales staging what they believe to be the first play ever performed at so southern a latitude.

Thomas Keneally, The Daughters of Mars (2013), about two Australian sisters who grow closer as they do nursing work in Europe and Egypt during the First World War.

Matthew Kneale, English Passengers, about three Englishmen hoping to find the Garden of Eden in nineteenth century Tasmania, and about native Tasmanians struggling to maintain their way of life as the British take over their island

Christopher Koch, Out of Ireland, a literary novel in the form of a journal kept by an Irish rebel convicted of sedition and transported to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania)

John Lewis, Savage Exile, about two nineteenth century English girls imprisoned on false charges and transported to Australia where they must struggle for survival

Joan Lindsay, Picnic at Hanging Rock, about a 1900 girls' school excursion to Hanging Rock, where three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish.


William Stuart Long, The Exiles, about English prisoners transported to Australia in the late eighteenth century; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #1 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Settlers, about colonists struggling to survive in the Australian wilderness; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #2 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Traitors, about a rebellion against the king that threatens to destroy the hard-won gains of the Australian colonists; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #3 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Explorers, about the exploration of Australia at the turn of the nineteenth century; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #4 in the Australians series.

William Stuart Long, The Adventurers, about Australia after the First World War; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #5 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Colonists, about the threat to the Australians by distant powers; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #6 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Gold Seekers, about people seeking their fortunes after the discovery of gold in the Australian Outback; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #7 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Gallant, about native-born white Australians who enlist to fight for the British Empire as new settlers continue to arrive; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #8 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Empire Builders, about Australians striving to add New Zealand to the British Empire; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #9 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Seafarers, about the mate on a seafaring clipper ship; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #10 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Nationalists, about the movement to "unlock the land;" William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #11 in the Australians series

William Stuart Long, The Imperialists, about Australia at the turn of the twentieth century; William Stuart Long was a pen name used by Vivian Stuart; #12 in the Australians series


Mary Rose MacColl, In Falling Snow (2013), about an elderly woman in 1970s Australia looking back on her life as a nurse in France during the First World War.

Bob Mainwaring, Escape to Van Diemen's Land, about a nineteenth century Englishman who commits a crime for the specific purpose of being transported to Australia, where he struggles to make a better life for himself

David Malouf, The Great World (1990), about two working-class men who meet in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II and recall their childhoods and coming-of-age; awarded the Commonwealth Prize and the Prix Femina Estranger and was short-listed for the Booker Prize.

Alyn Marland, Monaro (2009), about an Australian family from the late Victorian era into the 1970s; self-published by the late author's daughter.


Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds (1977), a family saga beginning in the early twentieth century about a woman who falls in love with a Roman Catholic priest.

Colleen McCullough, Morgan's Run (2000), about an innocent man sent to the Botany Bay prison colony in eighteenth century Australia

Colleen McCullough, The Ladies of Missalonghi (1989), about a 33-year-old spinster in a small town in Australia's Blue Mountains at the beginning of the twentieth century who blossoms when her divorcée cousin comes to visit.

Colleen McCullough, The Touch (2003), about a nineteenth century English woman who goes to Australia to become the wife of a wealthy Scottish gold miner and finds he has an established mistress.

Colleen McCullough, Bittersweet (2014), about two sets of twin sisters, close friends, who train to become nurses in the 1920s.


Roger McDonald, The Ballad of Desmond Kale, about a convict who is a master sheep breeder and escapes from Botany Bay to breed Merinos in the Australian wilderness

Kerry McGinnis, The Waddi Tree (2006), a coming-of-age novel about a boy growing up on a cattle station.

Tamara McKinley, Jacaranda Vines (2002), a romantic family saga about an English girl who migrates to Australia in the 1930s and builds a wine business.

Tamara McKinley, Undercurrents, about a young married couple who sail from Liverpool to make a new life in Australia in 1894 and encounter a terrible storm a few miles from their destination.

Tamara McKinley, Lands Beyond the Sea (2007), about the difficulties suffered by both the native Aborigines and the earliest white colonists in late eighteenth century Australia.

Tamara McKinley, A Kingdom for the Brave (2008), about an Aboriginal boy who survives the massacre of his tribe and must choose whether to ally himself with the white settlers or join a native rebellion; sequel to Lands Beyond the Sea.

Alex Miller, Autumn Laing (2012), about an elderly woman reflecting back on her tumultuous extramarital affair in the 1930s when she was part of an artistic circle.

Di Morrisey, Tears of the Moon (1996), about a love affair in late nineteenth-century Australia between a young English bride and a man involved in the pearl industry, and a modern woman searching for her family roots

Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden (2008), about a little girl abandoned on a ship to Australia in 1913 and the mystery of her origins. Review

Nerida Newton, The Lambing Flat, about a young Chinese immigrant caught up in the nineteenth century Australian gold rush and a young woman on a Queensland cattle station who come to care for each other after he loses his father in the Lambing Flat riots

Judy Nunn, Beneath the Southern Cross, a family saga about a convict transported to Australia and his descendants

Antony O’Brien, Bye-Bye Dolly Gray, about a young Australian man who goes to South Africa to fight in the Boer War.

Lee Pattinson, Winds of Change, about a girl from an English work-house who rises to become a wealthy landholder in Australia.

Lesley Pearse, Remember Me, about a Cornish fisherman's daughter transported to Australia as a convict, who escaped and was subsequently captured and returned to England for trial, but freed after being defended by James Boswell

Jean Plaidy, Beyond the Blue Mountains, a saga about three generations of women, beginning with a convict transported to Australia with her baby in the eighteenth century.

Jem Poster, Rifling Paradise (2006), about a nineteenth-century Englishman who goes to Australia to collect bird specimens and travels into the outback with a brutish colonial guide and an intuitive part-Aboriginal boy. Review


Kev Richardson, Letitia Munro (2008), about the first white settlement in Australia; from a publisher specializing in ebooks; #1 in a series.

Kev Richardson, To Plough Van Diemen's Land (2009), about the children of convict settlers in Australia; from a publisher specializing in ebooks; #2 in a series.

Kev Richardson, The Terrible Truths (2009), about the children and grandchildren of convict settlers in Australia; from a publisher specializing in ebooks; #3 in a series.


Kim Scott, That Deadman Dance (2012), about a native Australian who is friendly with the white colonists and falls in love with a colonist's daughter.


Patricia Shaw, Storm Bay, about a clergyman ministering to transported convicts who suspects a conspiracy to empty British prisons when he finds most aboard the Veritas have committed trivial offenses.

Patricia Shaw, A Cross of Stars, about conflicts between Aborigines and a family who run a sheep station

Patricia Shaw, Cry of the Rain Bird, about sugar cane planters in Trinity Bay

Patricia Shaw, Dream Seekers, about the minister for a group of German settlers in the Queensland port of Bundaberg

Patricia Shaw, Fires of Fortune, about a wealthy nineteenth century man with an Aborigine mother, who becomes embittered by his experience of prejudice after a doctor refuses to treat his dying mother.

Patricia Shaw, The Five Winds (2003), about the passengers taken hostage when a ship's crew mutinies as it nears Australia's Gold Coast.

Patricia Shaw, On Emerald Downs, about an escaped convict who has taken shelter with the Aborigines and finds himself at odds with white society over its attitude toward them when he decides to return to civilization

Patricia Shaw, Orchid Bay, about two young London women who emigrate to Australia to work as governesses, but find the jobs do not exist when they arrive

Patricia Shaw, River of the Sun, about two young women during the nineteenth century gold rush, one a young widowed housemaid who inherits her husband's distant landholdings, the other a beautiful Aborigine who helps her trek crosscountry to claim them

Patricia Shaw, The Feather and the Stone, about a wealthy and attractive English girl orphaned in a shipwreck in the 1870s and rescued by an attractive rake and a group of Aborigines

Patricia Shaw, Waiting for the Thunder, about two families with huge cattle stations in Northern Australia; sequel to The Feather and the Stone

Patricia Shaw, The Glittering Fields, about a man and his wife separated by his dream of striking gold

Patricia Shaw, The Opal Seekers, about an Irishman whose obsession with finding opals in Australia leads to tragedy

Patricia Shaw, Where the Willows Weep, about a young woman who runs away from the party celebrating her engagement to the man her parents expect her to marry

Patricia Shaw, Valley of Lagoons, about nineteenth century settlers who make claims on vast tracts of land for cattle grazing, and find themselves in conflict with Aborigine tribes


M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans (2012), about a man who takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on a remote island in 1918 with his young wife, and what happens when a dead man and a living baby are washed up on their shore. Review

Sarah Stovell, The Night Flower (2013), about a governess who was caught stealing and a Romany girl who meet aboard the ship transporting them to Van Dieman's Land (now Tasmania).

Jane Sullivan, Little People (2011), about a poor governess who rescues what she believes is a child from drowning and discovers it is the famed midget General Tom Thumb on his 1970 tour of Australia.

Veronica Geoghegan Sweeney, South Lies the Valley (1988), about an Irishwoman who goes to Australia to escape the turmoil of the 1866 Fenian uprising.

Veronica Geoghegan Sweeney, The Emancipist (1985), about an Irish convict transported to Australia who survives the brutal life in the penal colony, then struggles to make it as an "emancipist," an ex-convict

Janet Tanner, The Years to Come (2009), romantic suspense about a beautiful young woman who must struggle to survive and protect her siblings after her father's murder in nineteenth century New South Wales.


Margaret Tanner, Savage Utopia (2008), historical romance about a young man and woman who meet and fall in love aboard a convict ship on its way to Australia.

Margaret Tanner, Stolen Birthright (2008), historical romance about a convict's daughter and an English aristocrat in the 1840s; sequel to Savage Utopia.

Margaret Tanner, Frontier Wife (2010), historical romance about an Australian frontier man and a beautiful young Englishwoman.

Margaret Tanner, Devil's Ridge (2007), historical romance set during World War I about a girl who masquerades as a boy to help her brother, suffering from shell-shock, and then falls in love with her boss.

Margaret Tanner, Shattered Dreams (2008), historical romance set about a World War I nurse and three wounded soldiers.

Margaret Tanner, The Trouble With Playboys (2009), historical romance set during World War II about a nurse and a young man who marry in Singapore and are then separated during the invasion when each believes the other has been killed.

Margaret Tanner, Wild Oats (2010), historical romance about a young woman betrayed by an older man during the First World War years; prequel to The Trouble with Playboys.


Carrie Tiffany, Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living, a literary novel about wheat farmers in 1930s Australia.

Ian Townsend, Affection: There is No Cure, about a doctor sent to northern Australia in 1900 to investigate a suspected plague outbreak.

Brenda Walker, The Wing of Night , about the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I and its disastrous effects on men who fought it and their families.

Peter Watt, Cry of the Curlew , about a white squatter who has the Aborigines on his property dispersed by violence, and the teamsters who inadvertently witness the barbarity; #1 in the Bird/Duffy series.

Peter Watt, Shadow of the Osprey, about gold miners in the Queensland Outback and the fierce Aboriginal warriors who resist the invasion; #2 in the Bird/Duffy series.

Peter Watt, Flight of the Eagle, about two feuding Australian families; #3 in the Bird/Duffy series.

Peter Watt, To Chase the Storm, about two feuding Australian families during the Boer War; #4 in the Bird/Duffy series.

Peter Watt, The Silent Frontier, about three siblings separated during a massacre at the Eureka Stockade goldfields, who go on to become involved in the New Zealand Maori wars and Australia's Palmer River gold fields during the late nineteenth century.

Peter Watt, The Stone Dragon, about an Australian businessman in China during the Boxer Rebellion and a man in the Chinese Emperor's service on a secret mission to Queensland

Jessica White, A Curious Intimacy (2008), about a nineteenth-century woman botanist who falls in love with a grieving and isolated woman while traveling through a remote part of Western Australia.

Patrick White, Voss (1957), about a nineteenth century German adventurer who sets off on a trek across the Australian continent and the woman who waits for him after she receives his letter proposing marriage; the author won the 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Anne Whitfield, A Noble Place, about an adventurous young woman who persuades her parents and twin to emigrate to Australia

Anne Whitfield, Kitty McKenzie, about a young woman in York, England, in 1864; the sequel, Kitty McKenzie's Land, is set in Australia

Anne Whitfield, Kitty McKenzie's Land, about a young woman from Yorkshire, England, who receives a gift of land in northern New South Wales in 1866; a sequel to Kitty McKenzie which is set in England

Lynne Wilding, Amy's Touch, historical romance about a World War I nurse who settles in the small town of Gundaroo, South Australia, after the war

Tim Winton, Cloudstreet (1991), about a family who inherits a large house in a Perth suburb in 1944 and takes as tenants another family who runs a grocery store on the lower floor.

Janet Woods, Hearts of Gold (2009), historical romance about an orphaned young woman rescued after her father dies in the goldfields by a wealthy adventurer who later sends her to his home in England, where she meets his nephew.

Marion Grace Woolley, Angorichina (2011), about the only woman patient in a TB sanatorium in South Australia's Flinders Range in 1932.



Mysteries Set in Australia


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Robin Adair, Death and the Running Patterer (2010), about a former London policemen wrongfully condemned and exiled to New South Wales where he works as a "running patterer" (a news crier) and in 1828 is asked to help the government track down a serial killer.

Angela Badger, The Water People, a mystery set in early nineteenth century Australia during the convict period.


Kerry Greenwood, Cocaine Blues (1989; also titled Death by Misadventure), a humorous murder mystery featuring a London society woman who goes to Australia and becomes a lady detective at the end of the 1920s; #1 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Flying Too High (1990), a humorous murder mystery featuring a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia who flies a Tiger Moth airplane; #2 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Murder on the Ballarat Train (1991), about a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia who investigates a case of murder by chloroform on a train; #3 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Death at Victoria Dock (1992), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates the murder of a tattooed anarchist who bleeds to death in her arms; #4 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, The Green Mill Murder (1993), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates a murder at a dance hall; #5 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series

Kerry Greenwood, Blood and Circuses (1994), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia goes undercover at the circus to investigate a murder; #6 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series

Kerry Greenwood, Ruddy Gore (1995), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates a strange death during a theatre performance; #7 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Urn Burial (1996), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates murder at the Gothic mansion she is visiting on holiday; #8 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Raisins and Almonds (1997), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates a poisoning at a bookshop; #9 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Death Before Wicket (1999), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates murder while on holiday in Sydney; #10 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Away With the Fairies (2001), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates the death of an author and illustrator of fairy tales; #11 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Murder in Montparnasse (2002), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates an old case of murder witnessed by seven Australian soldiers in Paris in 1918; #12 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, The Castlemaine Murders (2003), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates after a mummified corpse ridden with bullets falls in front of her during an amusement park ride; #13 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Queen of the Flowers (2004), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates the disappearance of a flower maid while she is serving as a queen in the town parade; #14 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Death by Water (2005), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia embarks on a luxury cruise wearing a fabulous sapphire necklace in order to investigate a series of jewel thefts; #15 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Murder in the Dark (2006), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates a kidnapping during a Christmas party; #16 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Murder on a Midsummer Night (2008), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia investigates an apparent suicide while she hunts for a lost child who may be the heir to a fortune; #17 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, Dead Man's Chest (2010), a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia goes to a resort for a rest, where she finds an abundance of mysteries to solve; #18 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

Kerry Greenwood, A Question of Death: An Illustrated Phryne Fisher Treasure (2008), a collection of short stories about a glamorous lady detective in 1920s Australia.


Victoria Holt, The Black Opal (1993), about a gypsy foundling taken in by a family in England but sent to Australia at age ten after a murder, who returns to England determined to find out what really happened.

Catherine Jinks, The Dark Mountain (2008), about a widow from New South Wales who married a vicious man, and her daughter who is determined to ferret out the secrets her mother has been guarding for years; not readily available in the U.S.



New Zealand


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Vicky Adin, Daniel (2011), about a young soldier who travels to New Zealand in 1863 and becomes disillusioned by war, later building a life in Foxton with his love, a Prussian girl; self-published.

Maxine Alterio, Ribbons of Grace (2008), about the love affair between a Scottish stonemason and a young Chinese woman who borrows her dead brother's identity to work in the nineteenth century Otago goldfields.

O.M. Andresen, Johanna's World (2001), about a young Norwegian woman who migrates to New Zealand in 1873; based on the true story of Johanna Christensen.

Coral Atkinson, The Love Apple (2005), about Irish immigrants in New Zealand and a seductive Maori teenager.

Coral Atkinson, The Paua Tower (2006), about the people in a North Island town during the Depression of the 1930s.

Angela Badger, Charlotte Badger: Buccaneer (2002), a biographical novel about a woman convict transported to Australia who becames a buccaneer and the first white woman to live in New Zealand.

Heretaunga Pat Baker, Behind the Tattooed Face (1995), about the Maori at the zenith of their power in the late 1700s, just as overpopulation began to upset the delicate balance of their society.

Heretaunga Pat Baker, The Strongest God (1990), about religious conflicts in a Maori tribe during the 1860s when traditional beliefs clash with a new tribal religion and the religion brought by Europeans.

Zana Bell, Forbidden Frontier (2008), about a woman convict who travels to Australia with her baby in the eighteenth century, and becomes a pirate and one of the first white women to settle in New Zealand.

Graham Billing, The Blue Lion (2002), a love story about two immigrants in the raw new colony town of Dunedin in 1860s New Zealand.

Barry Brailsford, Song of the Circle (1996), loosely based on ancient Maori legends about the Great Migration, which imagines how a prehistoric master stone carver and his companions set out on a spiritual journey from the Americas; #1 in the Chronicles of the Stone series.

Barry Brailsford, Song Of The Whale (1997), loosely based on ancient Maori legends about the Great Migration, which imagines how a prehistoric master stone carver and his companions left Easter Island and followed whales to the "Lands of the Double Sea;" #2 in the Chronicles of the Stone series.

Barry Brailsford, Song of the Eagle (1998), loosely based on ancient Maori legends about the Great Migration, and imagines how a prehistoric master stone carver and his companions travel through the icy waters of the Pacific Northwest; #3 in the Chronicles of the Stone series.

Barry Brailsford, Song of the Silence (1998), loosely based on ancient Maori legends about the Great Migration, and imagines how a prehistoric master stone carver and his companions travel the Silk Road from China, eventually reaching as far as Egypt; #5 in the Chronicles of the Stone series.

Barry Brailsford, Song of the Sacred Wind (1998), loosely based on ancient Maori legends about the Great Migration, and imagines how a prehistoric master stone carver and his companions travel to Ireland and then on to South America; #6 and last in the Chronicles of the Stone series.

Beverley Bassett Broad, West Coast Reins (2002), about a woman who finds her great-great-grandmother's journal about the voyage to New Zealand and her struggle to make a life on the West Coast of the South Island during the late nineteenth century.

Beverley Bassett Broad, Fool's Gold (2006), about a woman who finds her great-great-grandmother's journal about the voyage to New Zealand and her struggle to make a life on the West Coast of the South Island during the late nineteenth century; sequel to West Coast Reins.

Beverley Bassett Broad, Erupting Lies (2006), about the eruption of Mount Tarawera at the end of the Victorian period.

Jane Campion and Kate Pullinger, The Piano (1994), a novel based on Campion's Academy-Award-winning screenplay about a mute woman whose husband trades her beloved piano for a plot of land.

Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries (2013), about the nineteenth-century New Zealand gold rush.

Deborah Challinor, Tamar (2002), about an orphaned Cornish girl in the late nineteenth century who emigrates to New Zealand and is befriended by a woman whose goal is to establish an upscale brothel; #1 in the Children of War trilogy.

Deborah Challinor, White Feathers (2003), about a New Zealand woman and her family during the World War I years; #2 in the Children of War trilogy.

Deborah Challinor, Blue Smoke (2004), about a New Zealand woman struggling to keep her family going through the Depression and World War II; #3 in the Children of War trilogy.

Deborah Challinor, Kitty (2006), historical romance about an 18-year-old English girl who compromises her reputation and is sent to missionary relatives in New Zealand, where she falls in love with a gun runner.

Deborah Challinor, Amber (2007), historical romance about a ship captain's wife who becomes separated from her husband when they land in the middle of a Maori war against the New Zealand colonists; sequel to Kitty.

Judy Corbalis, Tapu (1996), about a missionary and his wife who were among the first settlers to New Zealand in 1814, their relationship with the Maori chief Hongi Hika, and their trespass upon a "tapu" world, a world sacred and forbidden.

Shirley Corlett, The Hanging Sky (1990), about New Zealand from the arrival of the first Maori to the present day.

Daphne de Jong, Gather the Wind (1999), about a mid-nineteenth century whaler who forms alliances with Maori chiefs, and two women who become more important in his life, each in their own way, than he anticipates.

Barbara Else, Wild Latitudes (2007), about a beautiful, blonde English girl shipwrecked on a New Zealand beach in the nineteenth century, where she struggles to make a new life amid rough seal hunters and naked Maori men and women.

Barbara Ewing, The Trespass (2003), about a girl hoping to escape her sexually abusive father by following her cousin to New Zealand.

Aaron Fletcher, The Castaway (1984), set in nineteenth century New Zealand.

Aaron Fletcher, The Founders (1984), sequel to The Castaway.

Ray Grover, The Cork of War: Ngati Toa and the British Mission (1982), about conflicts between Maori natives of New Zealand and incoming settlers.

Ken Gunn, Massacre Bay (1992), about nineteenth-century settlers in Golden Bay, New Zealand; #1 in the Massacre Bay trilogy.

Ken Gunn, Evenshiels; or The Lost Key, about nineteenth-century settlers in Golden Bay, New Zealand; #2 in the Massacre Bay trilogy.

Ken Gunn, Never to Know, about nineteenth century settlers in Golden Bay, New Zealand; #3 in the Massacre Bay trilogy.

Peter Hawes, Tasman's Lay (1995), an irreverent novel about Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman's discovery of New Zealand in 1643.

Jenny Haworth, Lost Souls (2005), about a New Zealand man haunted by memories of his military service in South Africa during the Boer War as his favorite nephew plans to volunteer in World War II.

Jenny Haworth, Hobsons' Chance (2003), about the sister of Captain William Hobson, Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand in 1840 and 1841.

John Hinchcliff, Parihaka (2004), about a Maori village which greeted an invading armed force in 1881 with songs and freshly baked bread, an act said to have inspired Ghandi.

Witi Ihimaera, The Matriarch (1986), about the Maori struggle to maintain control of their land as Europeans colonize New Zealand.

Witi Ihimaera, The Dream Swimmer (1997), about the Maori struggle to maintain control of their land as Europeans colonize New Zealand; a sequel to The Matriarch.

Annamarie Jagose, Slow Water (2003), about an English missionary who falls in love during his voyage to New Zealand, and finds himself in danger of losing not only his reputation but his life when he arrives in the colony.

Yvonne Kalman, Greenstone Land (1982), about two families in Victorian New Zealand; #1 in the Greenstone Land Saga.

Yvonne Kalman, Juliette's Daughter (1983), about two families in Victorian New Zealand; #2 in the Greenstone Land Saga.

Yvonne Kalman, River-Song (1985), about two families in Victorian New Zealand; #3 in the Greenstone Land Saga.

Denise Keay, The Stove Rake (2002), a literary novel about a spinster in Edwardian New Zealand whose incorrect assumption that people notice her only because she is useful to fill out a table at dinner party ends by wreaking havoc in her rural community.

Frances Keinzley, House of Hogs (2004), about an abused young heiress from Victorian Liverpool who emigrates to New Zealand with her illegitimate baby; not readily available outside Australasia.

Kaye Kelly, Cross the River to Home, about the love affair between a half-Chinese woman and an immigrant from the U.K. in New Zealand's South Island

Fiona Kidman, The Captive Wife, about an English woman kidnapped by the Maori in early nineteenth century New Zealand

Fiona Kidman, The Book of Secrets, about women who journeyed with a charismatic Scottish preacher to Nova Scotia, Australia and finally New Zealand during the nineteenth century

Graeme Lay, Alice & Luigi, about an Italian immigrant to New Zealand and his wife during the nineteenth century

Jane Mander, The Story of a New Zealand River, about an educated woman in a timber milling settlement who adheres to a strict moral code and her less conventional daughter, who takes a job and lives with her lover; a New Zealand classic (technically not historical fiction) published in 1920

Mary McCallum, The Blue, about a woman in a small farming/whaling community on Arapawa Island at the north end of New Zealand's South Island during the Depression year of 1938

Phyllis Mullinder, Voices of the Angi, about a pioneer family in New Zealand's back country from the 1920s through World War II

Tom O’Connor, Tides of Kawhia, about Te Rauparaha, a Maori tribal leader of the eighteenth century

Tom O'Connor, Pathways of Taranaki (2006), about the Maori chieftain Te Rauparaha; sequel to Tides of Kawhia;" not readily available outside Australasia.

Jenny Pattrick, The Denniston Rose, about the spirited young daughter of a woman who settles in a bleak and isolated West Coast coal-mining community during the 1880s

Jenny Pattrick, Heart of Coal, about an unconventional young woman in the West Coast coal-mining community of Denniston and her choice between two young men who wish to marry her; sequel to The Denniston Rose

Jenny Pattrick, Catching the Current, about a Faroe Islander who immigrates to New Zealand and discovers he can't outrun his past

Jenny Pattrick, Landings, about the people who lived on New Zealand's Whanganui River at the turn of the twentieth century

Maurice Shadbolt, The Lovelock Version, about the nineteenth century Otago gold rush

Maurice Shadbolt, Season of the Jew, about a colonial army officer in nineteenth century New Zealand and the Maori leader Te Kooti, with whom he sympathizes even while attempting to destroy him; #1 in the New Zealand Wars trilogy

Maurice Shadbolt, Monday's Warriors, about an American serving as a British army officer in New Zealand, where he deserted and joined the Maori in Titokowaru's War against the colonists; #2 in the New Zealand Wars trilogy

Maurice Shadbolt, House of Strife, about a nineteenth century author of penny dreadful novels set in New Zealand who emigrates there and acts as a go-between during the Maori rebellion of Hone Heke; #3 in the New Zealand Wars trilogy

Patricia Shaw, Bay of Exiles, about convicts struggling to establish a state in Tasmania

Mary Stapylton-Smith, Into the Dream Country, about John Thirske and his sister, Annie, during the first decades of the settlement in Canterbury, New Zealand

C.K. Stead, Mansfield (2004), a novel about three years in the life of the noted New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield during the First World War when she is living in London, striving for a new fictional voice, and frequently traveling to France, including a trip to the war zone to join her French lover.

Carol Thomas, Consequences, about a young woman immigrant to New Zealand who adopts the identity of a woman who did not survive the voyage

Carol Thomas, The Cost of Courage, about a young woman who marries a widower with a daughter in order to provide for her younger brother after her parents die

Rose Tremain, The Colour, about a couple who emigrate to New Zealand with his mother during the nineteenth century New Zealand gold rush

Richard Webster, Enemy Within, about a nineteenth century Auckland family who invites a celebrated entertainer to read their palms at a family dinner

Peter Wells, Iridescence, about a man with a scandalous past who arrives in Napier, New Zealand, in 1871 with a fabulous jeweled earring.

Gay Williams, Bushed (2013), about a pilot in the New Zealand Air Force who marries a woman while on leave, is shot down, and cannot reunite with her until five years later; self-published.



Mysteries Set in New Zealand


Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.


Edmund Bohan, The Opawa Affair, about a police detective in Christchurch who investigates a case of murder in 1879 during an opera company's visit; #1 in the Inspector O'Rorke mystery series

Edmund Bohan, The Dancing Man, about a police detective in Christchurch whose attraction to a charming woman he meets at a dinner party leads to the emergence of dangerous secrets; #2 in the Inspector O'Rorke mystery series

Edmund Bohan, The Matter of Parihaka, about a police detective in Christchurch assigned to investigate an influential Maori politician's allegations of police brutality; #3 in the Inspector O'Rorke mystery series

Edmund Bohan, The Irish Yankee, about a police detective in Christchurch whose past in Civil War America comes back to haunt him when a group of American feminist and temperence lecturers visit New Zealand; #4 in the Inspector O'Rorke mystery series

Edmund Bohan, A Present for the Czar, about a police detective in Christchurch investigating a murder case in the spring of 1885, as a Russian scientific expedition alarms settlers and Maori alike; #5 in the Inspector O'Rorke mystery series


Joan Druett, Murder at the Brian Boru (1992), about a hotel where guests and actors gather for a weekend of playing murder mystery during the Edwardian era, when a feud dating back to 1867 rears its head.

Joan Druett, A Watery Grave (2004), about a sailor raised in New Zealand who is half Maori and half American, and is arrested for murder when his ship docks in Virginia in 1838; #1 in the Wiki Coffin mystery series.

Joan Druett, Shark Island (2005), about a sailor raised in New Zealand who is half Maori and half American, and is drawn into a murder investigation when his ship goes pirate hunting off the coast of Brazil in 1838; #2 in the Wiki Coffin mystery series.

Joan Druett, Run Afoul (2006), about a sailor raised in New Zealand who is half Maori and half American, and suspects a case of poisioning aboard ship may not be an accident; #3 in the Wiki Coffin mystery series.

Joan Druett, Deadly Shoals (2007), about a sailor raised in New Zealand who is half Maori and half American, and becomes embroiled in a dangerous murder investigation when he is assigned to locate a missing ship off Patagonia; #4 in the Wiki Coffin mystery series.


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