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We are working on the railway …. living in the bush ♫♫

July 18, 2017

Leap of Faith by Kiwi author Jenny Pattrick is set during the early 1900s when the railway was being built in the North Island of NZ.  When Brennan Scobie is offered a short contract to do engineering work for the Anderson Brothers, he and Rose take a break from Denniston and temporarily relocate to the North Island to work on the new Main Trunk Line – in particular the Makatote viaduct.

While there, Rose offers work to Maggie, the daughter of a friend.  Maggie’s younger brother Billy is also working on the viaduct, and Rose is very concerned when he falls under the influence of smooth-talking self-professed preacher, Mr Gabriel Locke.  Billy quickly becomes infatuated both with Gabriel and with the version of faith he is preaching, and is determined to prove his faith by whatever means necessary. Meanwhile, Locke is looking for chances to swindle whoever he can, using Billy as a pawn.

Billy’s best friend Ruri and Maggie fall in love, but will a relationship between the red-haired daughter of a Scottish immigrant and the half-caste Maori youth be accepted, by either of their families?

Mrs Grice of Ohakune is a fierce proponent of Prohibition and the railway camps are supposed to be completely dry. But somehow the grog is getting through and she is determined to track the culprits down. In the course of her mission, she accidentally commits a heinous crime that is discovered by preacher Locke. He sees an opportunity to exploit her – but as young Billy knows the details, the preacher needs to find a way to stop him talking.  

Ultimately, there is great joy and great tragedy, and I found this historical novel very engrossing and obviously well researched. If you have an interest in NZ history, or enjoyed the ‘Denniston Rose’, I recommend this novel.




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