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Nell by Penelope Todd

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Nell, born into a new century and forged in the freedoms of the High Country, yearns for a life that transcends the confines of family expectation.


She vows to keep alive the flame of her inner freedom. Yet that freedom is tested: by husband Herb’s pride and the demands of family life on a Maniototo sheep station. Herb betrays her trust. Love comes calling and must be reckoned with. There is tragedy.


Two wars, a pandemic and the Depression ensure that Nell cannot escape society’s matrix. Is it even possible for a woman of Nell’s era to hold her own?


In Nell’s experiences, any woman reader will find resonance with her own: as she dares to step beyond bounds; revels and stumbles in love; knows the perils of life in a female body, and of motherhood; as she embraces the consolations of friendship and seeks a worldview that can hold it all.


In writing a novel of my grandmother’s life, I expected gaps and guesswork, but instead found a presence and a life, vivid and corporeal, that unfolded scene by scene.


Emma Neale: … an astonishingly vivid and moving chronicle of an individual’s life … A kind of spiritual biography.

ISBN: 978-1-7385943-3-7

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