Rose, a five year child and her mother ride up the perilously steep incline late one night to Denniston. Denniston is a coal mining town high on a plateau on the west coast of New Zealand. This is the 1880s. Life is tough as only a makeshift town exists.
Rose's mother takes up with Jimmy Cork, a drunkard. Rose is left to fend for herself. The English miners are knowledgeable about mining and very close-knit and want to run the other miners off. The other miners are ex-goldminers trying to turn their luck around and those escaping from the law and family. This is a very rough and aggressive community.
This is a story about survival and isolation and mining in 1880s New Zealand. The reader can't help but admire Rose's spirit and 'pull' for her all the way.
First Line: "Rose of Tralee and her mother arrived on the Hill at night during a storm."