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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 5 (August 1, 1934)



“Winds of Heaven,” by Nelle Scanlan (Jarrold's, London), is the third of the trilogy of the history of the Pencarrow family. Leaving aside her first novel and her outstanding journalistic work, no other New Zealand novel writer has achieved so much as has Miss Scanlan by completing this notable saga. Built on the basis of sales and indomitable industry Miss Scanlan's record must go unchallenged. From a rough estimate the trilogy must run into half a million of words. The first novel, “Pencarrow,” is now in its ninth edition, and the second, “Tides of Youth,” in its fourth. “Winds of Heaven,” because of its all devouring interest, will, I think, issue a strong sales challenge to its predecessors. We see the Pencarrows revelling in their after-war prosperity. Kelly ambitiously increases his estate and goes in for horse racing. The family is living in the lap of luxury. Then comes the world depression and the Pencarrow's are forced to grapple with the harsh problem of life. Romance, humour and tragedy make a full story rich in vital interest. Miss Scanlan has reason to be proud of the completion of this notable saga.

“The Road to Nowhere,” by Maurice Walsh (Angus and Robertson, Sydney), is one of the most delightful novels I have read for months. Maurice Walsh is an artist in every sense of the word. His word pictures are rich with colour, whether the touch be tragic or humorous. You live with his characters, and what a wonderful journey to be with them—in a tilt cast with romance and the beauty of Ireland as a background. Rogue McCoy is an appealing, if sombre hero, and I am sure you'll all fall in love with Ailish Conroy and Julie Brien. The murder mystery, the pivot of the story, provides a tragic background to the rich strain of delightful comedy running through the novel.

“The World's Conundrums,” by A. N. Field (A. G. Betts and Son, Nelson), is another remarkable book on world problems, by the author of “The Truth About the Slump.” The book contains a translation by the late Victor Marsden (formerly correspondent of the London “Morning Post”) of the astounding protocols of the meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion. It would be unwise for me to comment on such a remarkable publication, dealing as it does with such high-explosive matter.

“Australia's Backyards,” by R. H. Milford (Macquarie Head Press, Sydney), is as its title implies a picture of the great back country of the continent. The author makes his hazardous journey by motor car, and tells a vital story of the country and its inhabitants, dwelling occasionally on the moral, or immoral habits of the latter. Like most backyards, that of the Commonwealth could stand some tidying up, and the author is not slow to say so. As there is usually an attractive front garden apologising for the backyard behind it, so the author bestows his praises on the grandeur of those parts of Australia that show the fruits of man's labour and cultivation. A most interesting travel book.

“Old Days Old Ways,” by Mary Gilmore (Angus and Robertson, Sydney), will delight the hearts of many old folk throughout Australia and New Zealand. It will also be a revelation to the younger generation as to the hard path travelled by the pioneers of Australia. Only a writer of the quality and charm of Mary Gilmore could invest such a recital of apparently trivial happenings with such compelling interest. It is like turning over many quaint and forgotten ornaments on an old-fashioned “what-not.” The delicate picture is etched across the tremendous background of life in the early days.