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The Denniston Rose

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  549 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
Set in the bleak 1880s coal mining settlement of Denniston—an isolated community set high on a plateau above New Zealand's West Coast—five-year-old Rose and her mother mysteriously arrive in this chaotic community filled with ex-gold miners down on their luck, ruffians on the run from the law, and seasoned and embittered English miners. No one knows what has driven the two ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Scribe Publications Pty Ltd. (first published 2003)
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Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Fiona Story
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant nz book. Look forward to reading others from this author.
Bree T
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
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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) ~ Official Bookworm ~
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent story to set the scene before a visit to Denniston. Made the trip up there come alive.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Jenny Patrick's latest book, "Leap of Faith" came out, it started me on a re reading of "Denniston Rose" and "Heart of Coal. "Leap of Faith" is about the engineering of the Raurimu Spiral,an amazing piece of railway construction, high in the air built as a spiral as the terrain is so steep. This echoes the extraordinary steep access to the coal fields of Denniston on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Rose is in both books. The area is the setting of Eleanor Catton's "The Il ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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...