The Colour by Rose Tremain
This was a second-hand buy from the community centre. Set in the 1860s in New Zealand, it follows a couple who have emigrated from Norfolk to make a new life down under. Joseph is running from something, unknown to his wife Harriet. They start with a farm, then Joseph discovers 'the colour' in the creek running through their land. The colour means gold. Joseph then pans for gold on his land, abandoning the farming dream, then abandons Harriet to go to the wild west coast (of NZ south island) in search of wealth.
But it is really Harriet's story, for she is the one who learns to love the expanse of the country. She follows Joseph, and when she believes he has died, she embarks on another, physical love affair.
This is a great story - lots happening, beautiful description, a wonderful evocation of another time and place, more brutal than the one we know but with its own allure. Must read more by this author.