The Larnachs

Author(s): Owen Marshall

NZ - Fiction

Based on a real love triangle, this fascinating novel is by one of New Zealand's most-respected authors. 'Dougie's story and mine is not told in the history of William Larnach. It is our private journey, and only we understand how it came about; only we know the fitness and the wonder of it.' William James Mudie Larnach's name resonates in New Zealand history - the politician and self-made man who built the famous 'castle' on Otago Peninsula. In 1891, after the death of his first two wives, he married the much younger Constance de Bathe Brandon. But the marriage that began with such happiness was to end in tragedy. The story of the growing relationship between Conny and William's younger son, Dougie, lies at the heart of Owen Marshall's subtle and compelling new novel. The socially restrictive world of late nineteenth-century Dunedin and Wellington springs vividly to life as Marshall traces the deepening love between stepmother and stepson, and the slow disintegration of the domineering yet vulnerable figure of Larnach himself. Can love ever really be its own world, free of morality and judgement and scandal? Moving, thought-provoking and superbly written, The Larnachs is a memorable piece of fiction from one of our wisest authors.

AUTHOR EVENT : Page & Blackmore Readers & Writers 2012

VENUE: Granary Festival Café

DATE:    Sat 20 Oct 1pm

Cost:      GA Seating:full $14 Plus Service Fee

Book at Everyman or go to

I've been lucky enough to read a proof copy of Owen Marshall's forthcoming historical novel The Larnachs which will be in the shop in June 2011.  Marshall takes the few known facts about the third marriage of William Larnach to his much younger wife, Conny, and weaves a fascinating story about the probable love affair between her and Larnach's youngest son, Dougie.  I realised again what a superb writer Owen Marshall is and how well he understands human nature. - Jan

The years of William Larnach’s last marriage, as told by his third wife Constance and his youngest son Douglas, who formed a love triangle amid the constraints and conventions of late 19th century Dunedin and Wellington.


Owen Marshall has re-imagined this grand passion, and the tragedy and scandal it caused, with meticulous historical detail.


‘It was a story just waiting to be written. Thank goodness it was Marshall who wrote it.’ elizabeth alley, nz listener



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Product Information

Owen Marshall is a novelist, short-story writer and poet, who has written or edited over twenty books to date. Awards for his fiction include the New Zealand Literary Fund Scholarship in Letters, fellowships at Otago and Canterbury universities and the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship in Menton, France.

In 2000 he received the ONZM for services to literature and his novel Harlequin Rex won the Montana New Zealand Book Awards Deutz Medal for Fiction. In 2002 the University of Canterbury awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters, and in 2005 appointed him an adjunct professor.

General Fields

  • : 9781869794972
  • : Random House New Zealand
  • : Vintage
  • : 0.392
  • : June 2011
  • : 220mm X 134mm X 21mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Owen Marshall
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 823.2
  • : very good
  • : 293