Beyond the Bay

(2 customer reviews)

Auckland at the turn of the century. A city on the cusp of change.

Isobel, a settler of ten years, waits for her sister to cross the ocean to join her. Separated by distance, disappointments and secrets, the women reunite in a land where the rules of home do not apply. Women push for the vote and the land offers opportunity and a future for those brave enough to take it. But some secrets run too deep, some changes too shocking to embrace. Against this backdrop of uncertainty and promise, Isobel and Esther have to determine what – and who – means most.

In this novel, Rebecca Burns returns to the colonial New Zealand explored in her short story collection, The Settling Earth. Beyond the Bay is a novel of hope, redemption, and the unbreakable bond of family.

Available in print and ebook formats from Amazon,, or your favourite bookstore or online retailer.


Book Details

Weight 381 g
Dimensions 229 × 152 mm

244 pages






Historical Fiction

Release date

19 September 2018




Odyssey Books

About The Author

Rebecca Burns

Rebecca Burns

Rebecca Burns is an award-winning writer of short stories, over thirty of which have been published online or in print. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2011, winner of the Fowey Festival of Words and Music Short Story Competition in 2013 (and runner-up in 2014), and has been profiled as part of the University of Leicester’s “Grassroutes Project”—a project that showcases the 50 best transcultural writers in the county.

2 reviews for Beyond the Bay

  1. Claire

    Rebecca Burns has constructed an absolutely compelling tale of sisterhood, loyalty, and feminine strength. When I was asked to review this book, I was prepared to be relatively uninspired as it’s not a genre nor era I tend to dive into regularly. However, within the first five pages I was completely hooked.

    The main characters, Isobel, who is trapped, poor and childless in a stale marriage with an alcoholic husband, and Esther, alone, pregnant and rife with money and secrecy, are masterfully built up over the course of the novel, with a brilliant depth. The side characters, including handsome landlord Jack Bellamy, are also carefully written, with strong backstories which are slowly revealed as the story movies forward.

    After a decade apart, Isobel, whose letters home to England have described a lavish townhouse and comfortable lifestyle, is preparing to meet her younger sister, Esther from New Zealand. What Esther isn’t prepared for is Isobel’s reality; a tiny, run-down shack she can scarcely afford to pay the rent on, a lack of good food to eat and a grim wallpaper of newspaper clippings, pasted on in an effort to keep out the weather.

    The unravelling of the story is interwoven with the New Zealand suffragette movement, which results in a vibrant tale that’s well worth the time it takes to read.

  2. Hazlo Emma

    Book Review of Beyond the Bay By Rebecca Burns

    I crawled out of my comfort zone for a book review of Beyond the Bay by Rebecca Burns in the fiction genre with a 5.0 star rating. Are you captivated by fictional tales? I received a complimentary copy of Beyond the Bay by Rebecca Burns from the publisher, Odyssey Books with mixed feelings. I had to challenge myself to move out of a comfort zone and read a book in the fiction genre.

    The short read surprised me. Thank you Henry Roi.

    Pushcart Prize Nominee Rebecca penned a sweet story. Filled with suspense at each plot twist and turn, it is impossible to put the book down. The author taps right into the imagination of the reader from the start with the docking of a ship.

    Esther travels from home (England) to visit with her sister elder sister. Isobel, now called ‘Bella’ migrated to Auckland New Zealand ten years earlier. When Isobel opens her sister’s trunk, a letter falls out.

    ‘Esther—open in September.’

    The proceeding events after this incident are fascinating as new characters surface. The center stage of the book takes the reader back to two centuries ago in colonial New Zealand. Rebecca Burns takes you on a journey of telegrams, timber cottages, and steamers.

    Horses. trains, servants, mistresses, and frills fill the air. The aura of the nineteenth century is undeniable. Kettles boil on stoves, with tea poured in chipped colorful crockery.

    This is a captivating story line. It follows hidden family secrets, betrayal, love, healing, and forgiveness. My experience with the Rebecca Burns’ Beyond the Bay was a page turning delight.

    Buy the book on Amazon today. Out of five stars, I give this book all five stars.

    I recommend this book to the reader seeking to travel to a fictional land of the 1890s.

    Follow the lives of women clearing bushes and hammering timber alongside their men.

    Want to know how women started to have a say in running the society? This book will not disappoint.

    You can interact with Rebecca Burns on social media at twitter.

    Hazlo Emma

    Ps. If you have any questions about my experience reading this book, leave a comment to my review. I will get back to you.

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