about this novel
Hi there, I'm Lindsey Dawson.
Welcome to my third novel, Scarlet & Magenta. It's based (well, loosely!) on a true story.
It's about real people who fetched up in a tiny town on the British Empire's most distant shore in the 1880s.
The story begins with the arrival in Tauranga, New Zealand, of a Londoner named Violet. She has a sad and secret past, hopes for a better future, and is not prepared to sit and wait for it to come.
Back then, building a raw Bay of Plenty town was hard enough without free-thinking females upsetting local society.
Trying to ease her aching heart, Violet befriends a kindred spirit, Anna, and also catches the eye of footloose Rupert – rival and rowing mate of Anna’s husband.
In those days, it didn't do to speak your mind or seek unseemly delights. Angry words are soon flying in banks and bedrooms, with reputations and marriages at risk.
Scarlet & Magenta is about the trials, tensions and surprising pleasures of colonial life and explores the question of what really lasts over time – blood ties or friendship.
"The perfect blend of romance, history and drama – all set against a backdrop that is recognisable and immediately our own." – nzbooklovers.co.nz
"A particularly delightful read." – flaxroots.com
"Witty and absorbing, filled with strong women and their secrets, this is a real treat for lovers of New Zealand historical fiction." – Author and NZWW books editor Nicky Pellegrino.
"The novel is set against a background of historical events but the author's theme is as relevant today as it was then, a novel dealing with hope, tragedy, loss and love. I loved it." – Margaret Reilly, Bay of Plenty Times
"The characters are excellent, the story well paced. It has the right balance of hope, despair, pathos and humour, evoking the claustrophobia of small towns and Victorian morals and the deadly nexus of the two."
– Author John McCrystal