Hardworking London governess Helen Davenport longs for a family of her own but knows the prospect of finding a suitable husband grows dimmer each year. Then she spots an advertisement seeking wives for the churchgoing bachelors of colonial New Zealand and begins an affectionate correspondence with a gentleman farmer.
Meanwhile, not far away in Wales, society life bores Gwyneira Silkham, beautiful, daring daughter of a wealthy sheep breeder. She finds an unexpected escape when her father loses a blackjack hand to a mysterious New Zealand baron — and Gwyn’s hand in marriage goes to the baron’s son.The women cross paths on the ship to Christchurch — Helen traveling steerage, Gwyn first class — and form an unlikely friendship, one they’ll rely on when the husbands awaiting them turn out very different than they’d imagined.
This nineteenth-century saga of two unforgettable young women — navigating a new world and finding friendship, romance, and adventure at every turn — is as lush and sweeping as the hills of New Zealand themselves.
(P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
I loved this honestly told story of the immigrants who came to New Zealand . . . Helen, the governess, who answered an advertisement to come from England to New Zealand to find a husband . . . and Gwyneira, who is coming from Wales to meet her husband. Gwyneira's father, a sheep breeder, who has gambled away his daughter's dowry, has now gambled his daughter's hand in marriage to save his sheep farm. Helen and Gwyniera become friends on the three month sea voyage from England to New Zealand, and so do the orphans that are traveling with Helen. I see that many of the reviews of In the Land of the Long White Cloud are mixed or negative . . . I highly disagree. Having listened to Bryce Courtney's books about Australia and New Zealand and the Maori tribes, (all of which I highly recommend), I find Sarah Lark's writing much gentler. Her treatment of many subjects (abuse of women by men, homosexuality, infidelity, sexual scenes, whore houses) are well written, but not down played or white washed. These things, as much as we all wish they weren't, were facts of life in 19th century New Zealand . . . The genuine friendships formed between the women, the pioneer spirit, the settling of the land and the GOOD of many people, including the Maori tribes, shine through. A love of learning and biblical truth abound, as well as unveiling the wolves in sheeps' clothing. I am already listening the the next book in the trilogy.
The book titled “In the Land of the Long White Cloud” by Sarah Lark readers follow a few generations of immigrants to New Zealand from Wales and London. One of the characters is Helen Davenport who has been working as governess in London but longs for a husband and a family of her own. Helen ends up on her way to New Zealand to answer an advertisement for a man seeking a wife after the exchange of letters. Helen believes that this man who writes beautiful sentiments is a gentleman farmer but her reality is disappointing.
Gwyn’s character comes into the story when her father loses blackjack to a sheep baron from New Zealand. Gwyn is to go to New Zealand to marry the sheep baron’s son. Gwyn is only 17 years old and loves sheep ranching, border collies, and horses. She is excited for an adventure and life on a sprawling ranch. Her reality is less than ideal.
Sarah Lark introduces the reader to a cast of characters that are wonderfully created. There are the orphan girls shipped to New Zealand to be servants. The heartless decisions made for these little girls really touched my heart and I was so happy that the author carried each of their story lines throughout this epic novel, as well. I call this an epic novel because it sweeps through many years – following the individual characters’ lives.
I purchased this book as an audio presentation through audible.com for my Kindle and it was about 22 hours long. The audible story is brilliantly performed by Anne Flosnik. It was thrilling to have such a long book to listen to that was never was slow or dull. There is rich New Zealand history detailed in the story and descriptions of the beautiful south island in the early days of settlers.
I am looking forward to ready the next book by Sarah Lark that carries on the story lines with the next generations. This book was originally written in German and the English translation was excellent.
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
A quite long winded story, narrated well, but doesn't really go anywhere.. I enjoyed the narration, good accents and quietly enjoyable
Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.
an average historical, novel, narrator is alright. I'd recommend this book if you are doing something that will require half a listening ear.
Love listening to a wide range of audio - science fiction, chick lit, memoirs,.
This book goes on and on and on and is very tedious. The narrator is a poor choice and when she does the voices of the characters she sounds rather odd. None of the characters are particularly likable or believable. There are some obvious historical mistakes and I regret listening all the way to the end.
Interesting story of pioneer New Zealand. However as a genuine "Kiwi" pakeha, I found the narration rather bland and her poor pronunciation of Maori words and place names grated - sometimes they were unrecognisable. The "Maori accent" of the Maori workers speaking English was also poorly portrayed.
The good--a story about colonial New Zealand, a country that has always fascinated me. And it was long, which I needed for travel. I got through it just to find out how it ended, but it was mostly dire.
The bad--sing-song narration with affected pronunciation, though she was good with Irish & Scottish accents, so maybe that's why. Translation may account for the many anachronisms (things are "okay," etc.) but I don't know whether it's a joke or an error that a character thinks "Daphne" is a biblical name. The plot is pure soap opera. No sequels for me.
Although I gave the book 3 stars, it was still a good book, although a bit lengthy. Like any good book, there were parts that I thoroughly enjoyed and other parts that I didn't care for. The location, scenery and Ms. Lark's ability to tell a good story were wonderful; however, there were times that I simply wanted it to end and end soon. Then the book would get good again and I would continue to read. Life happens ... and that is the story that is told here. Two women who become lifelong friends are how their lives intertwine - this is something every woman can understand and enjoy. Do I recommend the book? Yes, definitely. But be sure you have quite a while to spend reading when you pick it up.
This book tells about life of several strong and brave women and their families after an audacious move to the New Zealand. Characters are engaging, as well as the story. Overall, a strong four-star narrative.
"The worst book I have yet listened to"
Having just been to New Zealand I was very interested in this book. The story was dire, appallingly badly narrated. If the narrator is unable to do a certain accent she should not try. A scots man with a mix of an Irish/Welsh/English accent is a joke and not a funny one. I shall be returning it
This was an enjoyable listen if not exactly gripping or enthralling. Although neither of the main characters of Gwyneira or Helen made much of an impression on me I did find myself wanting things to work out well for them both and listening at every opportunity to discover what would come next in their lives. Some of the characters outcomes were a bit contrived and neatly sewn up but overall I did enjoy the book and would recommend it as one that is not too challenging if you need a fairly lightweight listen.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.