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Based on the 1865 Otahuhu murders, Purgatory is a startling, gripping novel from an immensely talented new author.

'You don't want to be digging there,' Ma says like he can hear her. No one can hear her, just us boys. We're the dead Finnegans – Ma, Thomas, Ben and me.
Ten-year-old John Finnegan can't leave his garden. Ever since they were murdered he, his brothers and his ma have been stuck there, caught between the worlds of the living and the dead. Unseen and unnoticed, he watches the events after his life unfold – including the actions of his murderer.
James Stack is born dirt-poor on an Irish tenant farm and the great famine shadows his childhood. But his clever sister's lace making may save the family – until Aileen is sent to the other side of the world on a convict ship. To save her, James joins the redcoats and follows her across dangerous waters to a hopeful new land. But can he ever leave the death and hunger of his homeland behind?
Based on the 1865 Otahuhu murders, Purgatory is a startling, gripping novel from an immensely talented new author.
Also available as an eBook


Rosetta Allan’s debut novel ‘Purgatory’ is one of those books that draws you into its exquisitely crafted, atmospheric and entirely believable world within the first couple of pages.

Tanya Allport, Booklovers

[One of her strengths] is the characterisation, accomplished with a talent for capturing quirks of human behaviour, movement and appearance, along with an acute ear for dialogue, effort that isn’t spared even for minor characters.

John McCrystal, Canvas Magazine, Weekend Herald

'[A] haunting tale of tragedy, poverty, love and deceit . . . Purgatory stays with you long after you have finished reading it.' —Daily Post, Rotorua


'Above all, what Purgatory achieves is the evocation of the hardness and loneliness of the lives and deaths of our ancestors, and you put it down with a sigh of nostalgia, the ache both of the past and the passed.' —Weekend Herald


'Rosetta Allan's debut . . . is smart, funny, tragic and the product of some close historical research . . . gives a stark and credible re-creation of time and place.' —Nicholas Reid, NZ Books


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    May 28, 2014


    328 pages

    RRP $30.00

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