In Amber’s Wake

Christine Leunens

Set in New Zealand during the fast-changing, tumultuous 1980s era of the anti-nuclear movement, Springbok protests, and the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, this romantic drama is as unpredictable as it is powerful and heartfelt.
Ethan Grieg, a film student, is in love with his close friend Amber Deering, an environmental activist, who lives at her family’s seemingly picture-perfect stud farm. Amber loves Ethan dearly, but not in the way that Ethan longs for. Instead, the man Amber chooses is widower Stuart Reeds, a charming, refined British investor almost two generations older than her. As a Korean war veteran, Stuart is mentally prepared for the long, subtle war that begins between his young rival and himself for Amber’s heart. When secrets become exposed and nothing is as it seems, each will be cornered into committing acts they could have never predicted. This powerful, gripping story leaves in its wake lingering themes on the complex nature of love, social fabric, international politics, and fundamental notions of right and wrong.

‘This is a powerful tale of love, loss, obsession and destructive choices, interwoven with seismic political events.’ The New Zealand Listener

In Amber’s Wake explores the messy and searing nature of first love. The kind that remains indelible and haunts well past its expiry date. The kind that has us believe it could have worked, it would have survived, if only… In Amber’s Wake has a few surprises up its sleeve which I won’t spoil for you. The book has a satisfying ending but whether it is ‘happy’ or not you’ll have to decide for yourself. For fans of Sally Rooney’s Normal People and One Day by David Nicholls… ‘ Kete Books

‘It’s really, really well done in the way it portrays not only relationships but also families and the difficulties there can be in families, which so often is hidden away and in fact Ethan doesn’t truly come to understand exactly what’s happened in Amber’s family until many years down the track. It’s really well written and I loved it. And it’s a book of course that we’re going to relate to because it’s set against the background of the anti-nuclear movement and Springbok Tour and Rainbow Warrior. It’s got some great visual history in it.’ Newstalk ZB ‘Whitcoulls recommends Christine Leunens’

‘A forensic examination of relationship dynamics and motivations, and the aftershock effects of choices. Exploring themes of love, friendship, loyalty, family dysfunction, grief and illness set against a backdrop of social change and politics, this novel is written with assured prose and in a distinct and engaging voice.’ Cass Moriarty, author of The Promise Seed and Parting Words

‘An exciting and powerful drama about the complex nature of love, passion and friendship.Culturama (Spain)


  • Bateman Books New Zealand & Australia
  • Editions Philippe Rey France
  • Planeta World Spanish
  • Varrak Estonia
  • Corint Romania
  • Athenaeum Hungary
  • Record Brazil
  • Europa Verlag Germany
  • Zysk Poland
  • SEM Editore Italy
  • Alpina Russia
  • Malvern Czechia
  • Alma Littera Lithuania
  • CoLibri Bulgaria
  • Siesta Georgia

Material: Finished copies of New Zealand edition (260pp)