Karyn L. Barr
May 23, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

For her ninth novel, Tremain strikes gold. With a dramatic, lyrical style reminiscent of her 2000 tome Music & Silence, The Colour follows Joseph and Harriet Blackstone, an English couple who emigrate to New Zealand during the 1860s gold rush in hopes of escaping their shameful pasts and rescuing their failing marriage. In the harsh landscape, the doomed pair discover that their decision to start anew was anything but foolish. Although Tremain has a knack for historical detail, exposition-heavy passages irritatingly encumber the opening chapters. If you can plow through the slow-moving beginning, Colour’s riveting climax proves extraordinarily rich.

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