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The Denniston Rose

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  487 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
The bleak coal-mining settlement of Denniston, isolated high on a plateau above New Zealand's West Coast, is a place that makes or breaks those who live there. At the time of this novel - the 1880s - the only way to reach the makeshift collection of huts, tents and saloons is to climb aboard an empty coal-wagon to be hauled 2000 feet up the terrifyingly steep Incline - the ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Random House New Zealand
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A splendid novel set in Denniston, a small mining community of NZ in the 1880s. It is a great story and the characters so three-dimensional that pop out of the pages. I loved this book and highly recommend it. 4.5 stars

Edited to add some pictures

The incline

The settlement and the people

More pictures available at West Coast NZ History website

Jul 23, 2012 Marion rated it really liked it
I was born on Denniston as was my Mother. My Father was a miner who left Scotland to escape a life in the mines for a better life in New Zealand, but arrived just as the depression was beginning, and mining was the only job he could get! I know from both my parents how hard life still was on Denniston much later than the era Denniston Rose was set in.. I loved this book and could picture it all in my mind. Great story, well researched background detail. We moved to Waimangaroa when I was four, a ...more
Jan 05, 2016 Kiwiflora rated it really liked it
On a recent trip to the West Coast, on a bleak, drizzly, cold spring day, we drove up the steep and windy hill to the plateau where a hundred years or so ago around 2000 people lived in the mining town of Denniston. It was a busy little community, with churches, shops, pubs, a school, people coming and going. I can't imagine what the place looked like or how thriving it was, as there was nothing about it that was remotely attractive the day we went! We went to the Coal museum in Westport, where ...more
Aug 10, 2012 Annalise rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story set in New Zealand's South Island coal fields of the 1880s. Denniston was an excellent setting - isolated, hostile and an artificial community where everyone was new to the place. The social divide between management, skilled miners and labourers was clearly defined. Pattrick has created a rich cast of characters, many with secrets to hide. They are vividly portrayed and there is a warmth towards all but the most reprehensible. Pattrick is also looking at how a commun ...more
Deidre(Dee) ~ Happy Grandma ~
This book was written by our own very talented New Zealand author, Jenny Pattrick. What an incredible story of the heartaches, hardships, and soul stirring lives of the men, women, and children, who endured the cold Denniston plateau, in their search for a better life, while working in it's unforgiving coal mines! Rose, a young girl arrives one cold, dark, stormy night, with her mother, and instantly captures the hearts of all, with her beautiful voice, and happy smile. Then follows stories of l ...more
Mar 21, 2015 Joan rated it really liked it
Excellent story to set the scene before a visit to Denniston. Made the trip up there come alive.
Oct 26, 2016 Linley rated it really liked it
Having just visited Denniston (in sunshine and rain) I had a feel for this awesome place. The book brings the heartache and hard work to life. I enjoyed having the chapters from Eva Storm's point of view as well as the other characters. The book could have been twice as long for me and I would still have enjoyed it, however Pattrick has created a wonderful book that is not too long and with a great storyline. I found it very hard to put down.

Recommended to Y11 to adult. Great themes and great NZ
Andrea Brown
Jan 27, 2017 Andrea Brown rated it it was amazing
A magical tale which would interest those who enjoy NZ history. The mining setting is very accurate and easily paints a picture of the harsh environment .....which people tolerated and made the best of. People of our era would never handle the rough and tough times here.
Rose is the main character but it is easy to get to know everyone else in around Denniston at this time. There are shocking elements of abuse and drunken behaviour, some portrayed with little detail but enough ennuendo that we k
Bree T
Oct 25, 2010 Bree T rated it it was ok
Set in the town of Denniston in the 1880′s, a mining town on the western coast of the South Island. The town itself was based around the coalmine there, accessible only up an almost vertical incline – the Denniston Incline. This made life for those that worked the mine, and for their families, incredibly isolated as not only could the journey down to the town of Westport not be made on a whim, it was also incredibly difficult for ladies to make. The method of transportation up to the mine/town w ...more
A beautiful and precocious child, Rose, arrived in Dennistone one stormy night. Her mother, Evangeline Strauss, is a woman of questionable character. They arrived to seek Rose's father, or so the mother said but as a matter of fact, they were running away from something more sinister.

Life in Dennistone was not easy but Rose was welcome in nearly every households as no one, in their right mind, could refuse her. Unfortunately, once again luck struck out and her 'father' died. How exactly he died
Bronwyn Rykiert
Dec 30, 2010 Bronwyn Rykiert rated it really liked it
Shelves: family, audiobook, friends
I quite enjoyed this story but it only gets 4* because it did not end quite the way I expected, I think it should have had a epilogue that told what happened to Rose's mother and Con the Break - even though it just said that they were neve heard of again.

Rose was taken to the Denniston Mining Camp in NZ by her mother Eva, a former prostitute, after Eva had killed a woman in a fight. Eva was taking Rose to her supposed father Jimmy Cork who she found was a drunk when they arrived in the middle of
Jun 12, 2011 Dana rated it really liked it
Rose, a five year child and her mother ride up the perilously steep incline late one night to Denniston. Denniston is a coal mining town high on a plateau on the west coast of New Zealand. This is the 1880s. Life is tough as only a makeshift town exists.

Rose's mother takes up with Jimmy Cork, a drunkard. Rose is left to fend for herself. The English miners are knowledgeable about mining and very close-knit and want to run the other miners off. The other miners are ex-goldminers trying to turn th
Oct 13, 2008 Kaye rated it really liked it
The setting for this book is Denniston,a coal mining town on the West Coast of NZ now a deserted shanty town. Situated up a steep incline above the small settlement of Waimangaroa, where my husband's family had the local (and only dairy)and where he grew up. School holiday jobs as a teenage where spent working "up on Denniston". I have been up to Denniston once and its now a deserted ghost town, unfortunately the weather was terrible and we couldn't see anything past our nose! But we will make i ...more
Jan 30, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it
The Denniston Rose is a novel depicting the hard lives of coal miners and their families in Denniston, NZ. The author did a great job of showing the wide range of types who lived in the mining towns and camps; former prostitutes mingled with the daughters of mine owners and their children went to school together. There was also a good sense of the conflict between those who were skilled and wanted pay to match their skill and safe conditions, and those who just wanted enough work to buy drink at ...more
Jul 12, 2010 Anita rated it really liked it
Telling the story of this isolated mining community on the West Coast of New Zealand using poor little Rose as the central character worked well. In saying that, I did wish that I knew more about the other main players in the book, as several of them just became either “good” or “bad” in my mind. More details, thoughts and back-stories would, for me, have given the story more depth. Still, I recommend this book, particularly if you enjoy historical fiction about tough-times in the 1800’s.
Oct 07, 2009 Cindy rated it really liked it
The setting is Denniston, New Zealand in the 1880's. It is a coal-mining settlement consisting of huts, saloons, tents and all types of people working in appalling conditions trying to survive. The only access to this community is a steep Incline which is a cable system which brings coal down to the railway line. I googled Denniston and after reading the history of this town I was enthralled! Great book. The Incline is amazing. Please google the history before reading. You will be amazed!
Set in the 1880's at Denniston, West Coast, South Island New Zealand.
Tough times, tough people, tough place.
No need to out line the plot here, there are heaps of reviews which cover this.
An easy to read book, it spells it all out in short readable chapters often telling the story form two points of view, adding detail as it does.
Pure fiction, but based on a town and a mine all true.
Apr 27, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can one say about Jenny Pattrick . . . her writings are excellent and her well-informed and researched historical knowledge of places her stories are set only add to the reader's absolute interest.
Dennistone Rose is an exceptional novel written of the coal mining families in a very remote and high altitude area of the South Island.
Rogue Wilson
Mar 29, 2013 Rogue Wilson rated it liked it
It was a great yarn with some good characters and I enjoyed Denniston Rose although I don't think Rose herself was that believable and there was a bit too much coincidence going in for me. Liked it enough that I'll definitely be reading the sequel.
Oct 06, 2012 Jan rated it really liked it
This is a wonderfully atmospheric novel set in the coal mining area on the West Coast of New Zealand in the late 1800s. We've just returned from a trip to New Zealand, so I loved the regional connection and the feeling of the time. And the characters are very compelling.
Jan 31, 2008 Leanne rated it it was amazing
Fantastic historical fiction about the lil mining town of Denniston, NZ. Makes you want to go and visit and ride the 8th wonder of the Industrial world for yourself and see if it's as scary as it's portrayed.
Kristie Saumure
Sep 14, 2012 Kristie Saumure rated it really liked it
An interesting New Zealand novel that takes readers to the remote and desolate mining community of Denniston during the 1880's. Well described characters and an interesting setting make this a book that is well worth picking up. An easy read that would work well for taking on holidays.
Jun 23, 2015 Angela rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book, particularly having visited some of the historic mine sites in the northern West Coast and after watching the video documentary about Denniston and the incline. Certainly contains some difficult themes, which is good to know if that can turn you off a story.
Jenny Housley
Mar 20, 2012 Jenny Housley rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-zealand
A good read with wonderful characters. The story gave a good insight into in the lives of early New Zealand. The story was set in a mining town in the South Island and shows the trials and tribulations of those early immigrants.
Donna Blaber
May 21, 2013 Donna Blaber rated it really liked it
I first read this book while travelling on the West Coast of New Zealand and it made the region come alive for me. Unique history is told through a riveting tale of hardship. Recommended reading for anyone with an interest in New Zealand and/or the West Coast's history.
Aug 05, 2011 Anna rated it liked it
This book gave me an insight into what life must of been like in Denniston, and how people just adapted to living on such a hell hole, and they made it their home! I would of loved to see the writer describe the characters and the setting in a little more detail, I couldnt quite get into this book
Kelly Dombroski
Mar 31, 2015 Kelly Dombroski rated it liked it
Was cool to read after visiting Denniston. Didn't like it as much as the sequel/prequel, which I read first.
Nikita Maree
Nov 30, 2013 Nikita Maree rated it it was ok
Quite hard to get into if you aren't interested in the history of Denniston. And the book only covers a couple of years of roses life. But it's an alright read.
Oct 17, 2012 MissHancock rated it liked it
Got given this when I was in hospital. Took me a while to get into it, but it turned into quite a good story!
Annette McIntyre
Dec 17, 2011 Annette McIntyre rated it it was ok
Recommended to Annette by: Mark Edgecombe
The story of a young girl and the life she must survive in the harsh environment of a West Coast coal mining town in the 1860's in New Zeland
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Jenny Pattrick is an acclaimed historical novelist, whose The Denniston Rose, and its sequel Heart of Coal, are among New Zealand's bestselling novels. In 2009 she received the New Zealand Post Mansfield Fellowship. She has been active in the arts community, and has also written stories, songs and shows for children.

Jenny Pattrick has been awarded the OBE for services to the arts, the 1990 medal,
More about Jenny Pattrick...

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