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Deborah Challinor Books In Order

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Publication Order of Children Of War Trilogy/Tamar Deane Trilogy Books

Publication Order of Kitty/Smuggler's Wife Books

Publication Order of Convict Girls Books

Behind the Sun (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Girl of Shadows (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Silk Thief (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Tattooed Heart (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of From the Ashes/The Restless Years Books

From the Ashes (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Jacaranda House (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Leonard Girls (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Grey Ghosts (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Who'll Stop The Rain? (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon

Deborah Challinor was born in New Zealand, however she also spent a substantial amount of time in Australia researching. She settled in Waikato, New Zealand with her husband and her cat. As well as being an author, she is also an historian. And, these two disciplines often meet in her historical fiction, which is often carefully researched before being creatively written. Challinor completed a PhD in New Zealand History at Waikato University, having switched subjects from English to history during her undergraduate years. She cited listening to music and antiques as her hobbies.

Deborah Challinor’s fictional works can be placed within the genre of historical fiction, then. Challinor tends to create a historical accurate sense of time and place in her books. This is down to the careful research that she does. Then, onto this historical landscape, she imposed a whole host of believable fictional characters, typical of their time, and follows their fortunes. As such, her novels are ideal for people who like to learn about a historical time period in a way that is not dry. Challinor is frequently said by her fans to truly bring history alive!

As well as writing creatively, she has also published several works of historical non fiction. These tend to have sprung from her researches into the history of New Zealand and Australia. This research centered around the effects of the Vietnam war on both adults and children in Australia and New Zealand. Challinor’s creative writing output takes the form of several coherent series of books as well as some standalone novels. The series tend to focus on the fortunes of a single character or set of characters which readers can really get to know as they move from one book to the next. Challinor’s books have been translated into many different languages and distributed throughout the world including wide distributions in countries such as Russia and the Czech Republic. Below, we will take a closer look at the different characters and book series that Challinor has authored.

Books by Deborah Challinor.

Challinor has written three main series of novels. These are name ‘The Smuggler’s Wife Series’, ‘The Convict Girls Series’, and ‘The Children of War Series’. In addition, she has authored a number of standalone novels with titles that include ‘Fire’, ‘Isle of Tears’ and ‘Union Belle’. These standalone novels typically deal with the Vietnam War, whilst her series of books are situated further back in history (often the nineteenth century). The book series often look at the colonial history of Australia and New Zealand and how it intersected with the lives of people in Britain and beyond who journeyed by sea to start a new life in these colonies. Needless to say, these themes have enabled Challinor to explore several thrilling plot devices such as secrets that come back to haunt people, new loves and lives in strange lands, and the suspense that comes with a long and adventurous journey. Let us take a look at a couple of the early books in two of her main book series. The books that we will look at are ‘Tamar’ (from ‘The Children of War Series’) and ‘Kitty’ (from ‘The Smugglers Wife Series’).


‘Tamar’ introduces us to the character of Tamar, a young woman who is orphaned in the remote Cornish village in which she lives. Seizing the opportunity, she moves to New Zealand where she finds love, challenge and adventure. This novel is set in the nineteenth century and on the way, Tamar makes a friend named Myrna. Myrna plans to travel to Auckland and to create the best brothel in the city. Her attachment to Myrna leads Tamar’s life to take a different turn to what she had expected. This novel is the first book in a trilogy, which follows Tamar and her friends and family throughout Cornwall, Plymouth, New Zealand and beyond. ‘Tamar’ and the trilogy that it forms part of, was written at a time in which Australian family sagas (and particularly ones that had an historical focus to them) were very much in vogue. ‘Tamar’ is a novel that can be read and enjoyed on its own. However, it does form a very definite part of a trilogy, and as such it ends in such a way as to encourage the reader to await the next book so that they can read on. This is one of the key reasons why fans have enjoyed the whole ‘Children of War’ trilogy: ‘Tamar’ provides such a compelling starting point for a longer story.


This novel won a gold award for the Premium New Zealand Bestseller Awards. As already mentioned, ‘Kitty’ is the first novel in Challinor’s ‘The Smuggler’s Wife Series’. This novel was published back in 2006. Like ‘Tamar’, ‘Kitty’ follows the fortunes of a young woman (whilst Tamar is 17 when her eponymous novel opens, Kitty is 18). Kitty grows up in Victorian England. However, once again like Tamar, the tragic death of a parent (her father) leaves her position there precarious. When she fails to make the marriage that her mother had hoped for her and as a result ends up with a ‘ruined reputation’, Kitty finds herself banished across the seas to the colonies of the Pacific. On the way, she falls in love with a romantic sea captain who harbors certain dark secrets which are to change the course of Kitty’s life. Again, we can see the parallels with ‘Tamar’ as it was also on a sea voyage that Tamar’s life took a different turn as a result of a chance encounter with a stranger. Kitty starts off at a wild and lawless place called the ‘Bay of Islands’ where missionaries are failing to impose their version of Victorian England on the once uninhabited land. Then, Kitty flees from here to take refuge in Sydney. This novel is just the start of a series, though, so there are plenty of tantalizing loose ends left to be cleared up with it ends. This is one reason why the whole series has been so popular with fans. And again, this is another parallel with her above mentioned novel named ‘Tamar’.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Deborah Challinor

6 Responses to “Deborah Challinor”

  1. Rama Dallas: 2 years ago

    At the end of “ from the ashes” is the first chapter of “ house of sorry”. This is the first chapter of the “ jacaranda tree”. I think the same book had a working title then a published name

    • Donna Roberts: 8 months ago

      I have read all three series,
      Children of War
      The Smugglers wife
      The Convict Girls
      I have totally enjoyed them all
      Can’t wait to get the other stand-alone

  2. JEANNE Clare: 3 years ago

    Does House of sorrows come before or after the Jacaranda House in sequence?

    • Graeme: 3 years ago

      It hasn’t been released yet so not sure.

  3. Dianne: 3 years ago

    Please tell me is the House of Sorrows the same as the Jacaranda tree?

    • Graeme: 3 years ago

      I believe House of Sorrows is the third book in the series which is not released yet.


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