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Breathing life into our past.

A vivid novel about ingenuity and hard slog, crooks and dreamers, bootleggers and love.

Billy is a young, impressionable dreamer. In 1907, he strikes off on his own, keen to prove himself an able worker on the new railroad. It’s being cut through steep mountainsides and across deep gullies to join the two ends of the Main Trunk Line. Also drawn to the remote worker settlements are miners from Denniston, young men fresh off the boat, sly-groggers, temperance campaigners, women following their menfolk, local Maori and a varied assortment of people after a new life or a quick buck.

Among them is a preacher, Gabriel Locke, who is running from a shady past and determined to avoid the daily grind. With untimely and suspicious deaths, the horrendous weather, impossible deadlines, the rugged landscape and a blossoming romance, it will take a lot more than a leap of faith for this disparate group to complete the railroad and build the magnificent Makatote viaduct . . .


Jenny Pattrick's regular readers will come across old friends in this book. They'll also get exactly what they're hoping for - beautifully crafted fiction, history brought alive with colourful characters and a dynamic story. If you haven't discovered this author yet, this is a great introduction to her work. I think Jenny Pattrick is a national treasure. She keeps getting better and better!

Nicky Pellegrino, NZ Woman's Weekly

To combine murder mystery, historical romance and adventure yarn requires the sort of deft touch for which Pattrick is well known. Yet it's all in the service of a serious theme - the danger of zealotry - that's particularly relevant for our times. Her fans, if you'll pardon a cliche of which she would never be guilty, will not be disappointed.

North and South

With Leap of Faith, Jenny Pattrick gives a masterclass on how to write a historical novel. The characters and their stories come first, and the details of the past add context and richness but never dominate. Pattrick brings to life the struggle of the time through a cast of believable, sympathetic men and women and, in Locke, a satisfyingly complex villain. A fine novel. Recommended.

Catherine Robertson, NZ Listener

If you love Kiwi stories with a dash of history, then this is the one for you.

Woman's Day

Listeners will be so excited to know Rose is back . . . set around wonderful characters . . . . it's riveting stuff . . . appealing and easily accessible to read . . . a major achievement . . . even though we're reading about the past it's still very present.

Ralph McAllister, Radio NZ

New Zealand novelist Jenny Pattrick has done it again - breathing life into this country's past. This time: the building of the magnificent Makatote Viaduct. Foul weather, harsh landscape, dreamers, sly-groggers, camp followers, and a touch of romance.

Megan McChesney, Next

Once more Pattrick's writing vividly portrays the hardships experienced by the families, the constant rain, living in tents and the political issues of this period.

Margaret Reilly, Hawke's Bay Weekend

I really liked this one . . . a very good story about what life was like for these guys in the gangs and their families

Joan McKenzie, Newstalk ZB

Jenny Pattrick takes us on a journey into the world of early New Zealand railway work and its often dangerous environment. This book particularly appealed to me with Billy going out on his own at such a young age.

Bay News

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    April 3, 2017

    RHNZ Black Swan

    352 pages

    RRP $38.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    April 3, 2017

    Random House New Zealand

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory


Autumn 1907

Billy Cameron sets out for Makatote

A Sunday in May 1907 Billy Cameron, fourteen years old, his spirits as lively as the fiery red of his hair, set out through the bush towards Andersons’ Workshop at Makatote. He went with his parents’ somewhat anxious blessing and his brother Freeman’s curse.

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Also by Jenny Pattrick

In Touch With Grace
Heart of Coal
Catching the Current
The Denniston Rose


The Handmaid's Tale
The Award
To Kill A Mockingbird
Tiger Men
Beauty in Thorns
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Girl on the Train
The Golden House
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Drover's Wife
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Swing Time
Life After Life
The Golden Age
Fifty Shades Darker
The Tea Gardens
A Long Way from Home
Uncommon Type