Elizabeth Knox is the author of nine novels for adults: After Z-Hour (1987), Treasure, (1992, shortlisted for the 1993 NZ Book Awards), Glamour and the Sea (1996), The High Jump: A New Zealand Childhood (Paremata 1989, Pomare 1994 and Tawa 1998), The Vintner's Luck (1998), Black Oxen (2001), Billie's Kiss (2002), Daylight (April 2003) and The Angel's Cut June 2009. She has recently published Dreamhunter and Dreamquake (Harper Collins), a two book series for young adults. Dreamhunter won the 2006 Esther Glen Award for New Zealand children's literature, and Dreamquake won an American Library Association Michael L. Printz Honor Award for Young Adult Literature in 2008. A collection of Elizabeth's nonfiction called The Love School: Personal Essays was published to acclaim in 2008. It was shortlisted for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in the Autobiography category. She is one of New Zealand's most successful writers and has a keen readership both in New Zealand and overseas. Elizabeth was born in 1959. She studied at Victoria University of Wellington and attended Bill Manhire's Creative Writing course. She lives in Wellington with her husband and son.
New Zealander Knox (The Vintner's Luck; Black Oxen) cleverly explores the many meanings of the word "kiss" in this haunting romantic mystery set in 1903. Billie Paxton, an uneducated but perspicacious young woman, thinks the worst is over after a rough voyage on the Gustav Edda, a Swedish steamer that has taken her to the outer Scottish island of Kissack and Skilling, along with her pregnant sister, Edith, and her brother-in-law, Henry Maslen, a tutor who has accepted a position with the local squire, Lord Hallowhulme, at Kiss Castle. But just as the Gustav Edda is docking in port, an explosion shatters the hull, leaving Edith dead and Henry injured. An excellent swimmer, Billie immediately jumps off the stricken ship and scrambles to shore, witnessed by Lord Hallowhulme's cousin, Murdo Hesketh. One of the few other passengers to survive the catastrophe, Murdo wonders how Billie came to be so ready to leap off the doomed boat. On Kissack and Skilling, the intricately interwoven lives of a host of islanders, particularly the inhabitants of Kiss Castle, give Billie plenty to ponder. Meanwhile, Murdo pursues Billie as both suspect and object of desire. When Murdo claims it was "just a kiss" after finally succeeding in kissing the breathless Billie, it turns out to be much more than that. The novel's promotion invokes the names of Emily Bront and Jane Austen; aficionados of those classic authors shouldn't get their hopes too high, but many romance fiction fans should be well satisfied. (Mar. 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.