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The Colour by Rose Tremain
In The Colour, Joseph and Harriet Blackstone are newlyweds who've just migrated to a farm in New Zealand in the 19th century, he to flee a shameful secret, she for the sense of adventure. In this new, harsh land, they find they barely get along. When Joseph finds some gold, called "the colour," in the creek by the farm, he hides it with without telling Harriet. When he can't make a living from the farm, he heads for the gold fields on the other side of the mountains, leaving Harriet behind. After a series of calamities at the farm, Harriet takes the dog and sets off in search of him. Rose Tremain's novel tells a story about the harhsness of a bleak world and the human heart, and what it takes to overcome them both. The Colour has received much high praise. The Asian Review of Books calls it "one of the best books I have read in years."