Gold Medal Award winner
'Danger at Devil's Cove' is a fast-moving adventure story for 10-14 year olds, set in the bush and goldmines of the Coromandel Peninsula.
Josephine Mary Cresswell's world crumbles when her mother is killed in an accident and she is obliged to move to a small township on the Coromandel Peninsula to live with her aunt, a virtual stranger. Thrust into an unfamiliar environment at her new school, Josephine makes friends with Tommy, the son of the local constable, but falls foul of Prudence, the school bully. When Prudence goes missing Josephine and Tommy set off to search for her in an abandoned goldmine and inadvertently stumble across a covert smuggling operation, leading to an exciting climax at Devil's Cove.
On the surface, Danger at Devil's Cove is a rollicking adventure story with ample action to keep the readers interest through to the last subtle twist. Underlying this is Josephine's struggle to choose the right path and in the process to better understand who she is. The more advanced reader may pick up on underlying themes of temptation, choice and consequence.
Danger at Devil's Cove is a fictional adventure story set in the 1950s and depicts the active outdoor lifestyle and history of that era. It also contains some references to early gold mining in the 1850s, and to World War Two. A section at the back of the book provides some background information for the interested reader.
The book won a Gold Medal Award at the prestigious New Zealand Pride in Print Awards, June 2010.
Danger at Devil's Cove
Publisher: Arthur Publishing House
Publication Date: 22 Jun 2012
Accompanying teaching notes are available on request.
Excerpt of Val Leveson's book review:
"Author Marilyn J. Bakker keeps the book fastpaced while still painting a compelling picture of growing up in post-war 1950s New Zealand. Her descriptions help the reader get absorbed in this world of tea cosies and gorgeous biscuit tins, mysterious rooms, caves … and of course treasure maps. The book helps the young reader also to realise the affects of the war, and of course, the great losses and pain associated with it. History comes alive mixed with not a small dose of wonderful imagination.
The character of Josephine Mary Cresswell is beautifully drawn. She is a real little girl, with whom a reader can really connect. Although she’s mostly good, there are times that she is conflicted, gets angry and even does things she’s not very proud of. In other words, she’s a character that young readers can really get to know and understand. She’s a very real little girl.
This is a wonderful book for children and grandparents to share, but the print and beautiful use of language will appeal to little ones who wish to read it for themselves as well. It is aimed at children of 10 years old upwards, but I can say, the wonderful world of Josephine Mary Cresswell was a great discovery for even me, an adult."
Val Leveson is a freelance journalist with over 20 years experience in New Zealand and internationally. She is a regular contributor to the New Zealand Herald.