Golden Hill, by Francis Spufford, Allen & Un­win.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - Books - JB

The word “rol­lick­ing” could have been in­vented for this hugely en­joy­able novel, set in the early days of New York. The town is still a parochial mud-patch when Richard Smith ar­rives from Lon­don, car­ry­ing a money or­der for a thou­sand pounds – though he will tell no one how he got it, or what he in­tends to do with this sum. Will the mer­chants hon­our his bill? Is he a con man or hero? And will he win the love of his cred­i­tor’s daugh­ter, sharp-tongued Tabitha? Told in the lan­guage of the time, I had huge fun with this book, noted in many best-of lists; it re­minded me of why we read, to be im­mersed in other lives and times, and Spufford has mar­ried his his­tory with the sense of ad­ven­ture and derring-do that brimmed through the 18th-cen­tury sto­ries.

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