Spun around the real events of December 1642, when Dutchman Abel Tasman first sighted New Zealand and Maori people first saw Europeans, STRANGER LOVE is a tale seen through the eyes of Tasman’s sixteen-year old cousin, Jakob, and the similarly-aged daughter of a Maori chieftain, Te Ao-mihia.
Jakob’s desire to leave his dull clerk’s job and become a sailor is brutally fulfilled, when, during an attempt to lose his virginity in a brothel, he is press-ganged onto a ship. His journey to the East Indies almost kills him, but once there he manages to join Tasman’s expedition to the Great Southland. Te Ao-mihia also longs to break free from the rules and regulations of her role as a village princess by finding a boy to explore the secrets of love with.
In the end, Tasman’s expedition never sets foot on land and his arrival in Maori waters leads to misunderstandings and bloodshed. How, despite this tragic conflict, the Dutch boy and Maori girl meet and find love, albeit of a strange kind, only to see that love become a death sentence, carries this tale of STRANGER LOVE to its bittersweet climax and poignant resolution.
‘Richard Woolley has the rare gift of keeping you anxious to know what happens next.’ David Robinson, The Times