Mining in 1880s New Zealand is a tough business, a fact that the isolated town of Denniston knows well. Isolated on a high plateau, the only way in and out of the small community is up a very steep incline, one that many don't take down. Five year old Rose and her mother arrive up this incline in the middle of a storm. They stay with the local drunk, Jimmy, whom it is claimed is Rose's father. Not enjoying her family life with her drunk father and promiscuous mother, Rose ventures out frequently and the community feeds her and takes care of her. She learns of all the different members of the community; those from England who are true miners and those who depend on the miners for their jobs.
Rose is considered a smart girl for her age and the adults can't seem but to help her. She isn't quite sure what her mother is up to, but her mother does have a plan, one that should eventually allow them to leave Denniston.
Though Rose is painted as a cute kid who many of the characters love, I couldn't really warm up to her. I know I shouldn't hold some of her actions against her because he mother was never around to teach her right from wrong but I still couldn't get past her shortcomings. This book really highlights how a small community comes together (or doesn't) to help raise their children. I enjoyed reading about this mining community and found that it was a fairly easy read.
First Line: "Rose of Tralee and her mother arrived on the Hil at night during a storm."