> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 14 February 2008
  • ISBN: 9780143009306
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $30.00

Ribbons of Grace

The best-selling and fascinating novel about New Zealand's first Chinese settlers.

A gripping story of love and deception on the Otago Gold Fields of nineteenth-century New Zealand.

Arrowtown, a goldfield settlement with an explosive mix of inhabitants, is the scene of an unlikely love story.

Ming Yuet, a young Chinese woman seeking riches disguises herself as a male miner and comes to the goldfields, where she meets Conran, an Orcadian stonemason escaping a family tragedy. A secret love affair develops amidst suspicion, fear and hostility, culminating in an act of violence that irrevocably shatters the lives of those involved.

Maxine Alterio's beautiful novel about love, forgiveness, alienation and friendship moves between past and present, homeland and adopted country, and from the living to the deceased . . .

  • Pub date: 14 February 2008
  • ISBN: 9780143009306
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $30.00

About the Author

Maxine Alterio

Maxine Alterio is a novelist, short story writer and academic mentor. She graduated from the University of Otago with a Master of Arts in Education and from Victoria University of Wellington with a PhD in Creative Writing. In 2010 she received an Ako Aotearoa Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching award. Her first novel, Ribbons of Grace, shortlisted for the 2008 Nielsen BookData New Zealand Booksellers’ Choice Award, topped the national bestsellers list for several months. Maxine won the Seresin Landfall/Otago University Press Residency in 2013.

Also by Maxine Alterio

See all

Praise for Ribbons of Grace

“First-time Dunedin novelist Maxine Alterio has created a voice that is utterly distinctive and believable.”


“Perfectly written . . . a beautifully crafted, believable novel.”

Hawke's Bay Today

“A new novelist, one with significant talent . . . Alterio's skill in blending factual historical information into her fiction is impressive and gives the story great credibility.”

Beattie's Book Blog

“A tender yet tragic love story.”

Otago Daily Times

Related titles