Eighteen years have passed since the child Rose arrived on Denniston, riding up the terrifying Incline on a stormy night. She has now grown into a young woman, intelligent and talented, with an outrageous zest for life. The trauma of her early years seems forgotten, though some recognise its shadow in her often unconventional behaviour. Rose is expected to marry her childhood friend the golden Michael Hanratty, but when dark and stubborn Brennan Scobie arrives back on the Hill after a seven-year absence, a challenge is inevitable. The opposition of Brennan's ambitious mother adds to the tension.
Heart of Coal continues to follow the fortunes of the remote West Coast coal-mining settlement. At the turn of the century Denniston is still isolated, but all that is about to change. New challenges will confront both Rose and this close-knit society. Staying or leaving will become an option. Heart of Coal is about loss and love, hope and despair. It is a story of convention and the lack of it and of the uncompromising spirit of a unique woman.
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