I don’t read many non-fiction books, especially ones that aren’t crime related but when I read the blurb for Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker I was intrigued and decided that it was a book that I wanted to read so I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour.
I don’t tend to read memoirs but Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker sounded interesting and like a book that I wanted to read. I think that in part it is because I related to the blurb, I have previously moved to New Zealand from England, although back in England now I am contemplating a return.
Fiona’s writing is funny, she has a way with words that had me chuckling away. It reminded me of when I found myself living on ten acres without a clue of what I should be doing. This was proven only a few days after I moved in when I managed to set a field on fire and had to call the fire brigade but I couldn’t remember the full address to give them. Luckily the huge plume of smoke led them directly to me, although I did nearly get charged because I had caused the fire that meant that they had to come. I pled stupid English woman who didn’t know what she was doing and thankfully they bought it, although looking back that isn’t surprising as that is exactly what I was!
Fiona was lucky in that she had a husband who was far more aware of what he should be doing than Fiona or I were. Said husband provides a lot of the laughs in the book, firstly with his attempts at being a ‘proper’ farmer and his mad-capped ideas that generally seem to work out. Then he moves onto building sand surfers and snake wrangling.
The author really sets the scene, I could imagine the farm where they made their home with the wallaby’s and the chickens. The stories of their often amusing interactions with their neighbours reminded me of my neighbours and how they band together and help each other out.
I have to admit that reading Apple Island Wife made me reconsider a return to New Zealand. Perhaps Tasmania would be better, property is certainly cheaper and after reading this book there is a whole neighbourhood that I feel like I know.
My one gripe with the book is that it is too long, a small story about an annoying rooster becomes a full chapter. While amusing the poor rooster didn’t need quite so many words spent on it and there are many instances of this.
I am sure that there are many readers out there that will love this book, and it might even inspire you to make changes in your life. There is a second book coming and I do want to read it, if only to find out the fate of the alpacas.
I received a copy of Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker from Unbound Press. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
What happens when you leave city life and move to five acres on a hunch, with a husband who is 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 story, and a paean to a new, slower age.
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.