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One of New Zealand's favourite and bestselling novels

The number one bestseller.

The bleak coal-mining settlement of Denniston, isolated high on a plateau above New Zealand's West Coast, is a place that makes or breaks those who live there. At the time of this novel - the 1880s - the only way to reach the makeshift collection of huts, tents and saloons is to climb aboard an empty coal-wagon to be hauled 2000 feet up the terrifyingly steep Incline - the cable-haulage system that brings the coal down to the railway line. All sorts arrive here to work the mines and bring out the coal: ex-goldminers down on their luck; others running from the law, or from a woman, or worse. They work alongside recruited English miners, solid and skilled, who scorn these disorganised misfits and want them off the Hill.

Into this chaotic community come five-year-old Rose and her mother, riding up the Incline, at night, during a storm. No one knows what has driven them there, but most agree the mother must be desperate to choose Denniston; worse, to choose that drunkard Jimmy Cork as bedfellow. The mother has her reasons and her plans, which she tells no one. The indomitable Rose is left to fend for herself, struggling to secure a place in this tough and often aggressive community. The Denniston Rose is about isolation and survival. It is the story of a spirited child, who, in appalling conditions, remains a survivor.


It becomes a page-turner, with a good deal of solid substance to it as well.

Nina Valentine, Ballarat Courier

She knows how a good story works: a bit of staginess; the right blend of light and shade, some tragedy and humour. As Con the Brake says, 'every good story must have the taste in the mouth', and Pattrick provides it. . . we also know we're in good hands and the story will deliver on what it promise. it provides romance, tragedy and magic in equal measure.

Liam Davison, Weekend Australian

Seldom could a New Zealander’s first novel have been so convincing as this historical tale from the Buller coal town of Denniston. Pattrick writes with the assuredness of a veteran. She creates an authentic stage for a cast of credible characters who interact in ways that always ring true. By saying something of value about a slice of colonial society, and offering insights on social and industrial history, Pattrick has raised what is, at one level, a simple story to a work of literary merit.

Mike Crean, The Press

What a triumph this book is for the author, jenny Pattrick. . . . This book is a delight.

Mary Cee, Wairarapa Times-Age

Rich in history and atmosphere, The Denniston Rose is a story that completely engrosses.

Sharon Chambers, The Star

Jenny Pattrick has written a vivid and captivating story . . . . This is a romping good yarn that’s bustling with big characters . . .

Nicola Salmond, The Dominion Post

Jenny Pattrick’s excellent first novel . . . A sequel is promised, and it is a testimony to this book’s power that the prospect is one to savour.

John McCrystal, North and South

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    May 18, 2012

    RHNZ Black Swan

    368 pages

    RRP $30.00

    Online retailers

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

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

  • Paperback


    March 5, 2004

    RHNZ Black Swan

    RRP $727.65

    Online retailers

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

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

  • EBook


    May 1, 2010

    Random House New Zealand

    367 pages

    Online retailers

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

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

Also by Jenny Pattrick

Leap of Faith
In Touch With Grace
Heart of Coal
Catching the Current


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Tiger Men
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Memoirs Of A Geisha
The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Girl on the Train
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Golden Age
Swing Time
The Bear and The Nightingale
The Drover's Wife
Life After Life
Fifty Shades Darker
The French Perfumer
Ready Player One