Shades (novel)

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Shades is a historical novel written by Marguerite Poland. The book was first published in 1993 by Penguin books. The novel is supposedly based upon the ancestors of Marguerite Poland and their struggle to survive and cope in the harsh South African environment.


The plot revolves around a family, the Farboroughs, who lived in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in the early 1900s, in a small community known as St Matthias. The story follows Walter Brownley, explaining what life was like in South Africa just before and during the Second South African War. African exploitation, as seen in the mining on the Highveld, is a major theme of the story.


  • Charles Farborough - Head priest at St Matthias
  • Emily Farborough - wife of Father Charles
  • Crispin Farborough - son of Emily and Charles Farborough
  • Frances Farborough - daughter of Emily and Charles Farborough
  • Benedict Matiwane - Mr and Mrs Farborough's "adopted" son
  • Walter Brownley - protagonist of story
  • Victor Drake - "cousin" of Crispin and Frances
  • Nowasha - the maid
  • Helmina Smythe - tutor of Crispin and Frances


The entire story takes place in South Africa.

See also[edit]

St. Matthew's High School, Keiskammahoek

Notes and references[edit]

  • Shades. Penguin. 1993. ISBN 978-0-14-302713-3.