Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith

By  Jenny Pattrick

A vivid novel about ingenuity and hard slog, crooks and dreamers, bootleggers and love.

A vivid novel about ingenuity and hard slog, crooks and dreamers, bootleggers and love.

Billy is a young, impressionable dreamer. In 1907, he strikes off on his own, keen to prove himself an able worker on the new railroad. It’s being cut through steep mountainsides and across deep gullies to join the two ends of the Main Trunk Line. Also drawn to the remote worker settlements are miners from Denniston, young men fresh off the boat, sly-groggers, temperance campaigners, women following their menfolk, local Maori and a varied assortment of people after a new life or a quick buck.

Among them is a preacher, Gabriel Locke, who is running from a shady past and determined to avoid the daily grind. With untimely and suspicious deaths, the horrendous weather, impossible deadlines, the rugged landscape and a blossoming romance, it will take a lot more than a leap of faith for this disparate group to complete the railroad and build the magnificent Makatote viaduct . . .

Extract

Autumn 1907

Billy Cameron sets out for Makatote

A Sunday in May 1907 Billy Cameron, fourteen years old, his spirits as lively as the fiery red of his hair, set out through the bush towards Andersons’ Workshop at Makatote. He went with his parents’ somewhat anxious blessing and his brother Freeman’s curse.

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