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About the book
  • Published: 7 December 2012
  • ISBN: 9781775532866
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $24.99

The Book of Secrets




Winner of the Fiction category of the New Zealand Book Awards in 1986.

A classic, prize-winning novel about an epic migration and a lone woman haunted by the past in frontier Waipu.

In the 1850s, a group of settlers established a community at Waipu in the northern part of New Zealand. They were led there by a stern preacher, Norman McLeod. The community had followed him from Scotland in 1817 to found a settlement in Nova Scotia, then subsequently to New Zealand via Australia.

Their incredible journeys actually happened, and in this winner of the New Zealand Book Awards, Fiona Kidman breathes life and contemporary relevance into the facts by creating a remarkable fictional story of three women entangled in the migrations - Isabella, her daughter Annie and granddaughter Maria.

McLeod's harsh leadership meant that anyone who ran counter to him had to live a life of secrets. The 'secrets' encapsulated the spirit of these women in their varied reactions to McLeod's strict edicts and connect the past to the present and future.

  • Pub date: 7 December 2012
  • ISBN: 9781775532866
  • Imprint: RHNZ Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

Fiona Kidman



Dame Fiona Kidman is one of New Zealand's most celebrated writers. Winner of numerous awards and fellowships for literature including a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour, Dame Fiona is renowned as one of New Zealand's foremost storytellers, having written over 30 books, including novels, short stories and poetry, and more than 60 television, film and radio scripts. She was created a Dame (DNZM) in 1998 in recognition of her contribution to literature.

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Praise for The Book of Secrets

“The novel is truthful in the ways that history never is, in creating the lives of ordinary, important people.”

Christchurch Press

“In the craft of her storytelling and in her compassionate gutsy tough expression of female experience, she is the best we have.”

NZ Listener

“The Book of Secrets is . . . being hailed as Fiona Kidman’s best and most ambitious novel to date. It traces familiar ground in her work, women’s lives and intertwined histories, but lifts them into a wider and more reverberative fabrication.”

Dominion Sunday Star Times


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