Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Rarest Thing” as Want to Read:
The Rarest Thing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Rarest Thing

4.84  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  19 reviews
It’s 1966, and a mountain pygmy possum – a species that scientists considered to be long-extinct – is discovered in the Victorian High Country and transported to Melbourne where newspapers dub it ‘the world’s rarest creature’.

Thirty-year-old Dr Katharine Wynter is a palaeontologist who’s more comfortable with ancient bones than live human beings, particularly men - an exot
Paperback, Special Gift Edition C Format available from , 280 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Lomandra Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Rarest Thing, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Deborah O'Brien You can buy a signed gift edition paperback from
You won't find it in bookshops.
The ebook is available from Kobo.…more
You can buy a signed gift edition paperback from
You won't find it in bookshops.
The ebook is available from Kobo.(less)
Deborah O'Brien Directly from
You won't find it in bookshops. The ebook is available from Kobo.…more
Directly from
You won't find it in bookshops. The ebook is available from Kobo.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-31
Average rating 4.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  19 ratings  ·  19 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Rarest Thing
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
My View:
For this review I will try something a little different – I will start with the cover and work through the elements of the book I enjoyed - and I did enjoy this read.

To begin with I was approached by the author Deborah O’Brien to see if I was interested in receiving a copy of her latest book and perhaps reviewing it on my blog. This began a series of communications where I was introduced to the lovely Deborah, her new project and the mountain pygmy possum. As a book reviewer and blogger
Elise McCune
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing

The Rarest Thing, is a mountain pygmy possum, considered extinct but discovered in the High C0untry of Victoria. Deborah O’Brien has written a lovely story centred around this discovery. The standout cover, the settings, the characters and the storytelling all drew me in. There is so much to like about this book. Highly recommended.

Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, read-2016, australian
A cute little snaggletooth possum is the catalyst for an expedition through the mountains, a journey of self-discovery and a blossoming romance.

The character's and story felt so real that I had to check the author's note at the end to find out which bits were truth and which were fiction. I enjoyed spending time with the timid heroine and seeing her grow. She was someone I could imagine being friends with. I loved the Aussie setting, a glimpse into life in Victoria in the 60s.

I reviewed a compl
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Brenda
Such a lovely gentle story with growth and empowerment for both main characters. Virtually read in one sitting.
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Got my hands on a review copy and was transported 50 years into the past on an adventure into the Victorian High Country. I was equally intrigued by all three journeys of the main characters: Scott King, Katharine Wynter and the pygmy possum.
A great read that captures something seldom felt in this age of iPhones and Google: a sense of discovery.
Marilyn Mccann
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a great book right from the outside cover inside cover to the end. Thoroughly enjoyed it and it brought back lots of memories of times gone by. The little possum really set the stage for romance intrigue and adventure a thoroughly good read.

Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
The discovery of the rare, considered extinct, mountain pygmy possum in the picturesque region of Victoria’s High Country, is the focus of Deborah O’Brien’s new book, The Rarest Thing.

The Rarest Thing features main female protagonist Katharine Wynter. Katharine is a woman ahead of her time. A deeply intelligent, talented and passionate thirty year old, palaeontologist Katharine finds herself in the Victoria High Country region, searching for the mountain pygmy possum in the flesh. Her trip to th
Chris McGuigan
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes beauties rich and rare are out of reach, sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. To see them all you need to do is focus.....

Palaeontology in 2016 conjures up images of Walking with Dinosaurs, Jurassic World and David Attenborough but in this 1966 setting the term has not been buffed by Hollywood to be readily recognised. Dr Katharine Wynter - Scaredy Kat to her two younger sisters - has found an academic niche in which to retreat for the past eight years, safe in the realm of extinc
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A month ago an author I'd never heard of sent me an advanced reader copy of her new novel, The Rarest Thing.
The first thing that struck me was the exquisite cover photograph depicting the breathtakingly beautiful Victorian alps in the area around Mount Hotham and Mount Feathertop. This cover is a clue to the story within, a story which I found utterly fascinating.
Meticulously researched and with fine attention to detail, this is not only the story of a tiny endangered possum which makes its ho
Mary Anne
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing

You will almost certainly judge this book by its cover - and you'll be right!
'The Rarest Thing' is a beautifully crafted book, exquisitely designed, and such a pleasure to read. The cover pics are truly apposite, and transport the reader into the heart of the action, Victoria's sublime High Country.
And if a superb dining experience at a restaurant is enhanced by perfect table settings, refined ambience and mannerly service, so a good read is enriched by fine papers, delighting fonts and layo
Kay Wiggins
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“The Rarest Thing” is set in Australia during the late 1960’s, an era of simpler but uneasy times, having said that, this book is timeless as it delves into issues that are always relevant.
Who doesn’t love a romantic story set against the Victorian High Country.
Nestled between the cover photos of those stunning mountain ranges, we find ourselves waiting for meek and mild Paleontologist Katherine to blossom, to discover herself, whilst searching for the cute, elusive and thought to be extinct, B
Jeannine Walsh
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed reading my review copy of The Rarest Thing, I could not put it down loved the characters and how the story unfolded plus the fact that the story had the real component regarding the search for the rare possum. The trip back in my memories to the 60's when I was a teenager and the places I had been was a joy to read. A great read.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Deborah O’Brien is an Australian author best known to date, for novels such as 'Mr Chen’s Emporium' and 'The Trivia Man'. Deborah’s latest release 'The Rarest Thing', published through her own imprint Lomandra Press, is an intriguing story about vulnerability, self-discovery, and love.

The story, set in 1966, revolves around thirty-year-old Dr. Katharine Wynter a shy, but curious paleontologist who is excited by the recent discovery of a rare mountain pygmy possum in the Victorian High Country –
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I very rarely read romance of any kind, and especially not the new craze that is rural romance. However, when Deborah approached me about her latest novel, I was intrigued enough to give it a shot on the strength of another novel of hers I’d read in the past which allowed for romance in a historical setting with a real sense of pathos and authenticity. Deborah is an author who doesn’t take the easy story-telling route and I knew that any romance story she told would be complex with fully fleshed ...more
Jo-Ann Duff
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Katharine Wynter is a highly educated paleontologist; a smart, beautiful, young woman with her career and future ahead of her when something dark happens to shake her confidence. George is a mountain pygmy possum, considered to be long extinct and only recorded in fossilised form. The rarest animal in the world in 1966 is found running about at a Ski Lodge in the Victorian High Country and is transported to Melbourne and put into captivity to be studied. Katharine gets an equally rare opportunit ...more
Annie Seaton
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every so often you stumble upon a book that is quite different to what you expect. The title of Deborah O’Brien’s latest book caught my attention, and I picked it up, eager to read, after having enjoyed The Trivia Man so much.
The Rarest Thing rates up there with one of my favourite reads for the year. It is delightfully different and refreshing in many ways. The settings in the rugged Australian Alps and on the campus of Sydney University when women were still perhaps regarded as inferior to the
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(Advance Copy) Once again Deborah O'Brien has created characters so real and endearing that their presence lingers long after you have finished the book. I could hardly put this book down which has many layers of interest and an important conservation message. Inspired by a real event, the discovery of the thought to be extinct Mountain Pygmy Possum, an inspiring story of transformation has been tenderly crafted. Not only is the tiny possum brought to life but so is the majestic High Country of ...more
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Much like the elusive mountain pygmy possum, this book is a rarity - a great read!
Deborah O'Brien has created unforgettable characters in Katharine and Scott, and her latest novel will effortlessly transport you to Australia in the 1960s.
The Rarest Thing will quickly find a place in your heart.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Set against the backdrop of Australia in the 1960’s is this beautiful story of an expedition to discover another Burramys or pygmy possum in the wild. Thought to be extinct, the discovery of a live creature creates waves within the scientific community, and begins a journey that will change the lives of two lonely people.

Nature photographer, Scott King, is an unusual hero. He appears to have it all; a glamorous career that sees him travelling around the world photographing both wild animals and
is currently reading it
Sep 07, 2016
marked it as to-read
Oct 07, 2016
marked it as to-read
Oct 09, 2016
Anya Forest
marked it as to-read
Oct 22, 2016
marked it as to-read
Oct 24, 2016
Lea Davey
marked it as to-read
Oct 28, 2016
marked it as to-read
Nov 01, 2016
Ellisa Cia
marked it as to-read
Dec 02, 2016
Heather Riley
marked it as to-read
Jan 06, 2017
Natalie Clothier
marked it as to-read
Feb 10, 2017
Rebekah Louise
marked it as to-read
Mar 28, 2017
marked it as to-read
May 29, 2017
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Deborah O’Brien is an Australian writer, visual artist and teacher. She is the author of four novels for Penguin Random House: the bestselling 'Mr Chen’s Emporium', its sequels, 'The Jade Widow' and 'A Place of Her Own', plus 'The Trivia Man'.

Her latest novel, 'The Rarest Thing' is set in the Victorian High Country in 1966 and is published by Lomandra Press. The signed gift edition print book is

News & Interviews

For those with a taste for nonfiction—or even just a curiosity about what’s out there—we’ve gathered below the most popular nonfiction titles...
22 likes · 7 comments
“If you encase yourself in stone like a fossil, you’ll have an existence, but not a life.” 0 likes
More quotes…