No Man’s Land by A.J. Fitzwater -Review

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publication Date: November 23rd 2011
Pages: 154
Rep: Maori characters, LGBTQ+
My Rating: 4/5


No Man’s Land is a historical fantasy and a love story set in the golden plains of North Otago, in the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dorothea ‘Tea’ Gray joins the Land Service and is sent to work on a remote farm, one of many young women left to fill the empty shoes left by fathers and brothers serving in the Second World War.

But Tea finds more than hard work and hot sun in the dusty North Otago nowhere—she finds a magic inside herself she never could have imagined, a way to save her brother in a distant land she never thought she could reach, and a love she never knew existed.

Inspired by feminist and LGBTQ+ history and family memories of North Otago in wartime, A.J Fitzwater has turned a piece of forgotten women’s history into a tapestry of furious pride and love that crosses cultures, countries and decades.


So that was different. A nice little historical fantasy set in New Zealand. I really want to see more fantasy stories inspired by New Zealand and Polynesia in general.

Things I Liked

  • I like the themes the author used in their story. The history and women during WWII with LGBTQ+ all that with a dash of fantasy make a recipe for a very nice and important novella.
  • Despite the heavy themes of the story I felt that the author kept sweet and light with a really appreciate. Not all important stories need to constantly dark and gloomy.
  • Tea was an interesting character, and it was nice to see her grown and accept herself.

Things I didn’t like

  • My main complaint is that sometime the writing was a little to prosy ad trying to be whimsical and cleaver and as a result I found myself confused on what was happening, and I had to read passages a couple of times and still I wasn’t sure what the author was trying to say. But his happened in a very specific moment that other might really like.

This is a short review but since it is a novella there is not much to say, I think it’s an important book and I had a good time reading it while also educating myself.

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