This book was really well-written. Seriously. The historical detail about life in 19th C. New Zealand was presented in prose that put you right into the scene.
And I did not much care for this book.
How can this be, you ask? Because I was able to predict just about every plot point. We start with Amy, the main character, at age 12. She, her widowed father, and her two brothers live on a large farm. Her father brings home a beautiful young stepmother, Susannah, who (of course) immediately starts treating Amy as a servant. Apparently, it has been impossible since the days of Perrault and Grimm for a stepmother to be *nice.*
Then, Susannah's head-turningly handsome brother comes for a visit. And, of course, he's a cad. (view spoiler).
We also get to meet the townsfolk, with big emphasis on Amy's cousin Lizzie and the boy she's interested in, Frank ... with a healthy smattering of "Ew, there's Charlie the town drunk, giving Amy the hairy eyeball again. He's even older than her father." (view spoiler)
To be perfectly frank, this book began to irritate the hell out of me and I finished it out of sheer stubbornness. Three stars because it's well-written. I will not be reading any of the remaining three books in this series regardless.