Vivid, exciting tales-earthquakes, shipwreck, encountersbetween New Zealand settlers and the indigenous Maoripeople-are paired with fascinating details of 19th-centurylife, from sailing ships and steamboats to women's fashionsand the natural beauty of the British seacoast and themountains and forests of New Zealand.
When Marianne LePatourel meets William Ozanne in the1830s on an island in the English Channel, she sets her hearton him. However, her sister Marguerite falls in love withhim too. And so begins this sweeping novel that takes thecharacters on dramatic adventures from childhood throughold age, on land and at sea, and from the Channel Islands toChina to the New Zealand frontier.
When William's naval career is cut short, he settles in NewZealand and writes to Mr. Le Patourel to ask for Marguerite'shand in marriage-but in his nervousness he pens the wrongname in his letter. It is Marianne who arrives aboard the shipThe Green Dolphin, and William's gallant decision not toreveal his mistake sets in motion a marriage that is difficult,but teaches them both that steadfast love which is chosen isstronger than the passion of love at first sight.
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