It’s my turn on the BlogTour Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker. It’s a loving and warm-hearted memoir of a family willing to change their entire lives in an attempt to find their best life.
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.
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.
About the book
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 every woman’s story, and a paean to a new, slower age.
The author has a knack for telling a yarn, no pun intended. There are some people, I think we will all know at least one person this applies to, who can make even the most mundane of tasks become an entertaining story. This is what Stocker does with the stories of her family and her anecdotes. In fact she is probably a written advertisement for upping roots and moving to New Zealand.
It’s amusing, albeit probably unintentionally so. In a way the author downplays the difficulty of adjusting to such a different way of life, climate and culture, with her entertaining stories. What is lost in the midst of it all is the strength and endurance it must have cost them to deal with every situation and new challenge.
What does come through quite strongly is the support people in remote areas need from their neighbours and friends. The advice, the many years of experience and of course the oddities that come with being a person of the land.
I can’t decide which part I enjoyed the most, but there were a fair few laughs along the read. The temperamental alpacas, the cockerel named Vlad or the snake pretending to be a long tailed rat. The neighbour with an affinity to sniff out dead trees, the child-herding dog and the subtle art of wood stacking. Just a small taste of the light-hearted tales within the book.
I enjoyed the way Stocker had no problems taking the mickey out of herself, her husband and their friends. It’s done in a playful and respectful manner, but it doesn’t make it any less funny. It’s a loving and warm-hearted memoir of a family willing to change their entire lives in an attempt to find their best life.
Buy Apple Island Wife: Sow Living in Tasmania at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound Digital; pub date 4 Dec. 2018