BOOK CLUB: Stone Sky Gold Mountain

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Author: Mirandi Riwoe
ISBN: 9780702262739

Thank you to Beauty and Lace and The University of Queensland Press for the opportunity to read Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe.


Siblings Ying and Lai Yue have left their home in China to seek their fortunes on the Goldfields of  Australia in 1877.

They work for a “syndicate” in Palmer River Qld. Their dream is to find enough gold to pay their way back to China and help their family.  Fortunes are not made by everyone, Australia is not the land of opportunity they were led to believe it would be. The work is hard, lack of food and sickness force them to relocate to Maytown.

From Maytown, their paths take different directions. Lai Yue gets a job as a carrier on an expedition, leading to work as a shepherd. Ying finds work in a local store before becoming friends with Meriem.

A crime is committed, throwing suspicion on any one who is an outsider.

The story is told through the lives of the three main characters, Ying, Lai Yue and Meriem. It includes their lives prior to arriving in Australia and their journeys since arriving. Each story shows a different aspect of life for  Australia’s early settlers.  Each of them has a past. Will they all survive this harsh country? Will Ying and Lai Yue return to their family in China?

The book is a compelling and unforgettable read of a forgotten part of Australia’s history. Cleverly portraying the disrespect and hardships faced by the migrants, the aboriginals, and any white woman who dares to be different.

Beautifully written and detailed descriptions make it so easy to read and enjoy. A definite “must read” for lovers of Australian historical fiction.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Stone Sky Gold Mountain. You can read their reviews in the comments below, or add your own!

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Stone Sky Gold Mountain

  1. I picked this book up and couldn’t put it down until I finished reading it!
    I raw recount of history and a different view of what it would have been like in the early Australian times, and certainly not a version of what I thought it could be like but it certainly gave me food for thought on all the different characters insights. At times chilling and others interesting, I greatly enjoyed this book and will be looking at others written by the same author.

  2. I read and appreciated Mirandi Riwoe’s The Fish Girl so I was keen to read her new novel and like The Fish Girl this novel is absorbing and focuses on the stories of those whose stories are not always told.
    At a time when the Australian gold fields are booming many Chinese immigrants arrive to seek their fortune, amongst them are brother and sister Ying and Lai Yue who are desperate to earn enough money to take back to China to rescue their family.
    Life is very hard for the immigrants; the Australians hate them and they are subject to great bullying and violence. Ying and Lai Yue eventually leave the fields and head to nearby Maytown. Ying finds work in a shop and Lai Yue joins an expedition heading overland.
    It is at the shop that Ying meets Meriem and they become close. Meriam has her own story and difficult past to cope with.
    This novel is beautifully written and the characters well drawn. It covers a little known period of Australian history and I was glad to see the novel is supported by the Australian government through Arts Queensland.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and the University of Queensland Press for the opportunity to read this important, engaging novel.

  3. Absolutely loved this book! Its a beautifully written account of the early gold rush days in Australia told from the perspective of the Chinese community by two siblings Ying and Lai Yue and a white woman Meriem with her own struggles to fit in and survive in the harsh environment.
    Loved the beautiful golden cover of the book!
    The injustice and inequality that one had to swallow down and accept in order to survive in this harsh land is brilliantly shown through the lives of the characters in the book. Each persons internal struggle with themselves against the strain of maintaining appearances in a harsh, poverty stricken environment. The small cruel space the Aboriginals and forced back into is cleverly woven into the story as well. Its a well told story, highly recommend the book! Cannot wait to read other works by the same author.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was an engaging story, following the life of 2 Chinese siblings and that of an employee of a lady of ill repute whose lives cross. I could not put the book down and it only took me a weekend to complete.

    It wasn’t a love story but more like an historical fiction based on a certain time in Australia’s history. Quite unusually written but enjoyable non the less. I did struggle at the beginning on the circumstances on how the two Chinese came to be in Australia and I was also disappointed by the ending but it does leave it wide open to another chapter in their lives.
    Well done to Miranda Riwoe and thank you for the opportunity to read and review Beauty and Lace.

  5. Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Miranda Riwoe was an engrossing book. The main characters, Ying and Lai Yue, have travelled from China to the Goldfields in Queensland. The story covers their struggles both to earn a living and to survive the prejudice inflicted by others. It gives a good account of how hard life was in that time, especially for foreigners, and the determination of those foreigners to succeed.

    Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book

  6. Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Australian Author Mirandi Riwoe is a Historical Fiction novel that focuses on the experience of the Chinese Community in the Gold Rush of Far North Queensland in the late 19th Century. This was a very interesting and well written book with a subject matter that I knew nothing about but the ending seemed a bit rushed.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and UQP for my copy for review.

  7. Stone Sky Cold Mountain is a novel showing the harsh reality that is Australian History and how people came from other lands to seek a new safe life in Australia. This story set in 1877 is about siblings Ying (Mei Ying) and Lai Yue.
    Their journey begins when the leave China and a troubled life to seek their fortune on the gold fields of Australia, hoping to return home to help their family.
    Life as always doesn’t go to plan and they find themselves needing to abandon their dream of finding gold and look for work elsewhere.
    Ying finds work in a local store and strikes up a friendship with Meriem who doesn’t care that Ying is Chinese, she’s just happy that someone finally notices her.

    Lai Yue’s journey takes him on an overland expedition as a carrier and with Shan there with him in his thoughts he finds life hard.

    People treat the ‘outsiders’ with contempt and when a serious crime is committed and suspicion falls on an outsider life takes a complete change.

    This novel is a brutal reality of life and how people were treated and sometimes still are treated.
    Yet it is also a touching novel about friendship, overcoming problems and doing what you can to survive.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace, University of Queensland Press for gifting us this book and especially Mirandi Riwoe for a compelling story of life and history.

  8. thank you for the opportunity to read this novel, it is my first by this author.

    I enjoyed this novel it gave an insight into the lives of Ying & Lai from the perspective of chinese immigrants to Australia, which is something we don’t often read or hear alot about. Struggles for the siblings leavng their relatives behind in China to try & make a better life for themselves & their families.

    How adjusting to anew country can be difficult.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and UQP for my copy to review, & touch on a little history at the same time

  9. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book. The first I have read by this author.

    It was a great book that I wasn’t able to put down once I started it. The life of two immigrants to Australia. They come to seek a new “safe” life in the gold fields. This book shows how “outsiders” were and still can be treated. An eye opening reality.

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