Main : family, fiction, horses, landscape, New Zealand, sisters
1920, deep in the New Zealand bush, a settlement of Christian fundamentalists live a life of austerity and isolation. It is a place where there is little space for compassion, particularly for the women who can never rid themselves of Eve’s original sin. The elders rule over the women, children and young men, meting out punishments for transgressions as ordinary as self-reflection.
Sisters Juno and Hannah have grown up in the community, but when a stranger washes up on the river bank and Hannah goes to his aid, she finds herself accused of necromancy. The girls flee but are quickly forced to accept help. Hannah, unsure who is friend or foe, finds herself dependent upon and attracted to the man into whose lips she breathed life.
Juno and Hannah is a remarkable novella. The vivid New Zealand landscape reflects the journey of the sisters with its bounty of beauty and resources but also with its scars, wrought during the early days of colonisation.
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This true slice of Kiwi gothic will get inside your head and stay with you long after the last page has been read. Cleverly combining aspects of Maori spirituality with tales of early settlers woven through with the horrifying aspects of the early eugenics movement, Juno & Hannah reminds us once again why Beryl Fletcher was the recipient of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book back in 1992. Short at just 170 pages, a wee gem to add to your book shelf or to gift to the book lover in your life.Sarah McMullan, The Booksellers New Zealand blog
High gothic bush yarn, Juno and Hannah has all the ingredients of love, quest, humour and endurance played out against a background of rural 1920's life, eugenics and cult religion. Simply told, fast paced, Beryl Fletcher's new novella abounds with vivid evocations of the natural world and some unforgettable female characters.Stephanie Johnson author of 'The Open World' and 'The Writing Class'
Juno and Hannah is at once a page turning read, full of twists and surprises, and at the same time a painful account of women's journey through the hinterland of history. Beryl Fletcher has painted a stunningly accurate picture of wild territory, pain, separation, revival and regeneration in spite of dreadful odds. I am haunted by the courage of these women in the face of adversity, and the knowledge that their circumstances remain universal.Fiona Kidman, author of 'Where the Left Hand Rests' and 'Beside the Dark Pool'
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