A poetically written tale of family turmoil, racial conflict and touching romance which, although engaging, somehow seems to lack tension (which I was expecting) and as a result, I felt quite distanced from the characters and events. However, it was good on historical detail (pre-WW1 New Zealand) and the treatment of Chinese immigrants and white women which I found interesting and thought-provoking.
She walked tentatively, searching for the tree, the only one half-burnt by lightning ... there ... she caught hold of the trunk and walked behind it straight into ... she gasped and fell back, but hands caught her, pulled her up. She held on as if drowning in air, the lantern swinging, sending light zigzagging over branch and trunk and root. Across his sleeve, collar, face. She could smell him: soap, ginger and garlic, a man smell. Her feet found steady ground; she let go, and then he let go also, their bodies so close she could feel him breathing.