We cross live to the groovy minimalism of Havelock North, where Hawke's Bay author Catherine Robertson recently launched her latest best-selling novel Spellbound at the Smith and Sheth wine lounge.

This week’s biggest-selling New Zealand books, as recorded by the Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by Steve Braunias


1 Auē by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press, $35)

Good old Manawatu appears onstage at tonight’s opening gala at the Dunedin Writers Festival. In the weekend, I’ll share a stage alongside Jared Savage, chaired by Rob Kidd; Elizabeth Knox will also speak at the festival, and so will Bruce Ansley, Nalini Singh, Witi Ihimaera and many other authors. I’m looking forward to it. Dunedin has fantastic second-hand bookstores, chief among them Dead Souls, and the finest seafood restaurant in New Zealand, Best Café, on Lower Stuart St. The last time I was there for a literary festival I got on the drink with good old Nick Davies, then in his pomp as Britain’s finest reporter, working at the Guardian and the author of Hack Attack, which revealed the phone hacking that was systemic at the Murdoch gutter press. He quit journalism not long after his New Zealand book tour. We stayed in touch for a while and he emailed in Christmas 2016, “On Dec 31 I head off to Argentina to work as a cowboy on a ranch.” That was the last time I heard from him.

2 Back to You by Tammy Robinson (Hachette, $29.99)

Blurbology: “When Finn and Zoe meet, they fall in love hard and fast. But Finn is about to go travelling, fulfilling a promise to his late sister to raise money in support of her illness. It’s terrible timing, but Zoe knows their feelings are strong enough to stand the test of time. While Finn is away, however, Zoe suffers a life-changing injury. And it leaves her wondering whether Finn could possibly still love her when he comes home …So she cuts all ties and disappears from Finn’s life, without telling him why. And now Finn has to decide how hard he’s willing to fight for the girl whose heart he’s carried with him, while Zoe has to decide if she’s got the strength to find her way back to the girl she once was.”

3 Inside the Black Horse by Ray Berard (David Bateman, $34.99)

4 Cousins by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House, $26)

5 Folded by Tina Clough (Lightpool Publishing, $35)

Karen McMillan, at the NZ Booklovers site: “The latest and thrilling instalment in the Hunter Grant Series from Tina Clough, Folded, once again features the unforgettable couple Hunter and Dao. Hunter is ex-army and first encountered Dao after she had been enslaved for years. Friendship turned into romance, and now they are a formidable team with her keen intellect and uncanny observational skills, and his combat and surveillance experience.”

6 The Quiet People by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press, $37.99)

7 Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (Hachette, $34.99)

8 Spellbound by Catherine Robertson (Penguin Random House, $36)

The author can be seen to the right in the photo of her book launch, top of page. At least I think that’s her – glasses, dark hair, staring.

9 Everything Changes by Stephanie Johnson (Penguin Random House, $36)

10 Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey (Victoria University Press, $35)

Finalist for the fiction prize at next week’s 2021 Ockham New Zealand national book awards.


1 The Abundant Garden by Niva Kay & Yotam Kay (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Recipes; it’s Mother’s Day this weekend.

2 A High Country Life by Philippa Cameron (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Recipes; it’s Mother’s Day this weekend.

3 Aroha by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

4 Supergood by Chelsea Winter (Penguin Random House, $50)

Recipes; it’s Mother’s Day this weekend.

5 Keepers by Cherie Metcalfe (Allen & Unwin, $45)

Recipes; it’s Mother’s Day this weekend.

6 Two Shakes of a Lamb’s Tail by Danielle Hawkins (HarperCollins, $37.99)

7 My Mother and Other Secrets by Wendyl Nissen (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

Family memoir; it’s Mother’s Day this weekend.

8 A Richer You by Mary Holm (HarperCollins, $36.99)

9 The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw (Penguin Random House, $38)

Family memoir; it’s Mother’s Day this weekend.

10 Vegful by Nadia Lim (Nude Food, $55)

Recipes; it’s Mother’s Day this weekend.

Steve Braunias is the literary editor of Newsroom's books section ReadingRoom, a noted writer at the NZ Herald, and the author of 10 books.

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