What happens when you leave city life and move to five acres on a hunch, with a husband who s an aspiring alpaca-whisperer, and a feral cockerel for company? Can you eat the cockerel for dinner? Or has it got rigor mortis? In search of a good life and a slower pace, Fiona Stocker upped-sticks and moved to Tasmania, a land of promise, wilderness, and family homes of uncertain build quality. It was the lifestyle change that many dream of and most are too sensible to attempt. Wife, mother and now reluctant alpaca owner, Fiona jumped in at the deep end. Gradually Tasmania got under her skin as she learned to stack wood, round up the kids with a retired lady sheepdog, and stand on a scorpion without getting stung. This charming tale captures the tussles and euphoria of living on the land in a place of untrammelled beauty, raising your family where you want to and seeing your husband in a whole new light. Not just a memoir but an everywoman s story, and a paean to a new, slower age.
I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
I’m a big fan of memoirs and I was delighted to be offered a chance to review Fiona Stockers account, of her move to live with her husband and young family in Tasmania.
It’s fun to read, well written, funny and heart warming. Fiona Stockers is as a born storyteller who brings this story to life in a gentle and informative way. She had me in tears of laughter at one moment and deep in thought within a few pages.
One of the reasons I read memoirs, is I want to learn about places I have never been, might never get the chance to visit and this story brings to life, rural Tasmania, a place I can imagine myself going to. Yet though this might never happen, the writing and descriptions in this book, make me feel like I have been there, so absorbing is this account. I love that it didn’t feel rushed, that time was taken by the writer to bring the wonderful and sometimes stressful life, to life for the reader. That gentle and patient telling of the story, helped me to understand the changes made possible with a slower pace of life. Simply reading it brought a life so different to my own to life for me and opened my mind to the possibilities of change if only I had to skills and opportunities to do something different.
I loved the descriptions of the wildlife that came up to and into their home. Frankly, I admired the bravery of the whole family when scorpions were found inside, I would have been reduced to a screaming huddle, not Fiona and her family, who simply coped and moved on. These tales are told with such calmness and warmth, I actually found myself laughing, knowing if it had been me all hell would have broken out. The Wallabies eating potted plants outside the window, while checking out the new residents, warmed my heart. Its’ not all plain sailing, these animals do damage and are frequently culled by the local farmers, so it’s not a tale of unremitting wholesomeness, this story is too good for that. The writer doesn’t shy away from the reality of rural life, she simply tells it with a dash of humour, with sympathy and understanding.
I would definitely recommend this to readers of all ages and tastes, even those that don’t normally read memoirs, the humour and intelligence it is written with, will open up a new way of life. It’s a celebration of a different way of living, but one told with an understanding of the challenges and rewards of taking a step away from the pressures of city life.
You can purchase this book from Amazon.
About the author
Fiona Stocker is the author of travel memoir Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania, published by Unbound in 2018. Raised in England, Fiona Stocker now lives in Tasmania where she writes freelance for magazines, newspapers and online publications, and runs a niche farm, food and tourism business in partnership with her husband. She occasionally works as a ghost writer and editor, and was a judge in the Tasmanian Short Story Competition in 2016. Her first book, A Place in the Stockyard, a history of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture featuring its members, was published in 2016. Read more and subscribe for a quarterly newsletter at http://www.fionastocker.com/ or read Fiona Stocker’s blog at http://www.appleislandwife.com/ Fiona Stocker lives in the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania, with her husband, two children and around forty-five pigs. Apple Island Wife is her first travel memoir.