River Lines (Hodder and Stoughton UK) 1995. (Hodder Moa Beckett NZ) 1995 

(Long listed for the Orange Prize 1996)

A panoramic, three-generational story moving between New Zealand and England. Beginning in 1912, in the harsh rural backblocks of Taranaki New Zealand, Parts One and Two follow the story of Deidre Byrne, who at the age of four is witness to a terrible tragedy. Part Three tells the story of privileged Sarah Dutton, whose very different life will nevertheless impact on Deidre’s in ways neither woman could have imagined. At the heart of the story are the secrets both women are determined to protect.


‘An instant modern classic.’ Quote Unquote

‘An epic of New Zealand family life… Sandy's gift is to explore beneath the public face that individuals present to the world, the mask that… reveals the passions of seething anger, frustration and violence… An absorbing 500 pages.’ Claudia Bell. NZ Herald

‘A good crafted read… strong, ambivalent, satisfying relationships.’ David Hill. The Listener

‘Sandys’ most substantial achievement, shortlisted for a UK award, interweaves the histories of two contrasting Canterbury families in a dynastic plot rich in strong action and emotion. The hard-won bond of settlers with the land is particularly well established.’ Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature