Wild Latitudes

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Wild Latitudes

Barbara Else

Publisher:Random House New Zealand Ltd

A clever and entertaining romp of a novel that is an alluring fusion of history, comedy and parody. After the unusual death of their papa, Adele Overend and her younger brother Godwin are dispatched from comfortable Autumn Hall in Yorkshire to the uttermost ends of the earth - gold rush Dunedin in 1864. Even worse for the grieving pair, they must travel on separate vessels. Self-possessed and practical Adele discovers herself cast up on an inhospitable island occupied by a misfit band of sealers. Godwin arrives on the rim of civilisation to find his sister vanished and nobody willing to employ an unusually pretty boy. Their adventures lead them into a series of mishaps and self-reinventions. What a catalogue: shipwreck, murder, renegade scientists, nasty doctors, a brothel, an asylum, urchins, a remarkable baby, lost relations, cross-dressing, dwarf wrestling, pyrotechnics, concealed identities, quackery, highway robbery, strange religious cults, bridled passions heaving under the stays. It is Shakespearean and yet Victorian, gothic and melodramatic, wise, high spirited, and tender.

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