A story of colonial Dunedin and the mystery child who rose from its slums to become a force to be reckoned with.
It is 1858, and the discovery of gold is about to turn New Zealand’s southern settlement into a crazy boom-town. Vagabonds and dreamers will swarm into the new colony, risking life and limb to seek their fortune in the wilds of Central Otago.
A fourteen year old enjoys her charmed colonial life in Dunedin town. But those days abruptly end when – into an unsuspecting night of pain and horror – she gives birth to a scrawny female child. Forsaken by their grim Free Church of Scotland family, both are cast out into a raw spring day.
Baby Billie and her young mother find acceptance in the colourful chaos of Maclaggan Street. Then, when Billie is only six years old, a disastrous event takes place. The spirited, sloe-eyed girl is faced with making her own way in the world.
Into this rich tapestry of pimps and publicans enters the elegant and educated Edwin. Who is he and why is he so intensely interested in Billie? And why is that young Irish charmer always lurking in the shadows?
This exciting family saga twists and turns through some of New Zealand’s historical events, with staunch pioneer characters strongly evoking Otago’s gold fever days. Southern Gold is a story of courage and endurance in a new land. And out of adversity, it is a story of laughter and love.
Scheduled for publication December 2016