This story begins in 1871 when the Sansonnet family moves from rural Cornwall to New Zealand to join a family member in a farming venture. It is told from the point of view of their eldest daughter, 16 year-old Eloise, a strong character who reflects the fact that women often have to bear the brunt of the impact that immigration brings on families.
They face a series of misfortunes over the duration of the sea voyage which continue on their arrival in New Zealand as their plans disintegrate amidst a hard reality.
They have to navigate a society with unpredictable and uncertain rules regarding race, social etiquette, class and religion while trying to stay true to their own values only to question what those values have been.
This is a complex book with a wide variety of characters and plots. The unremitting bad luck of the family is overwhelming but by the end of the book there is some hope that their fortunes might change.
Displaced highlights many problems new immigrants to this country might have encountered and might still encounter to this day, and captures the feeling of isolation and the enormity of moving across the world to start a new life.
A thought-provoking book.
First line: When Clem’s body goes into the sea it falls fast, without hesitation, and is gone.
Author: Christine Sanders
Publisher: Walker Books
Age: 14+ years
Reviewer: Anabel McPhee, Librarian, The Catlins Area School, South Otago
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