Author(s): Elizabeth Knox
"Knox, an energetic magical realist with a vibrant comic imagination, scores strongly again with this densely plotted tale of a waiflike shipwreck survivor's bizarre life and loves." Kirkus Reviews With an Edwardian twist on The Tempest, and all the surprising, earthy and magical qualities of her bestseller The Vintner's Luck, Knox's equally irresistible new novel is set on the remote, divided Scottish island of Kissack and Skilling, one half of which looks historically and geographically towards Catholic Ireland, the other towards the Protestant north and Scandinavia. In the spring of 1903 a ship explodes as it docks on the island, drowning many of the passengers and crew in the icy waters of Stolnsay harbour. Young, strawberry-blonde-haired Billie Paxton is among the only survivors. Clumsy, illiterate and suddenly alone, Billie will not say why, before the explosion, she jumped from ship to shore, and so falls under the immediate suspicion of her fellow passenger, Murdo Hesketh, and her cousin and employer, Lord Hallowhulme, who owns the island - and has controversial plans for improving the lives of its inhabitants. Gloriously inventive and vividly atmospheric, Billie's Kiss conjures up a way of life hurtling towards a brave new world, in an enchanting novel that combines a strange, sexy love story with an Edwardian mystery, bringing together murder and eugenics, progress, prejudice and the loss of innocence. ++ Finalist for the Deutz Medal for fiction 2002 ++
Shortlisted for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Fiction Category 2002.
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.