[Review] Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker

I received a review copy of this book through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest.

Summary: 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 rigour mortise?

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.

Genre(s): Nonfiction, Biography & Memoir
Content warnings: mentions of death (butchering and natural causes)

Publisher: Unbound Digital
Publication date: September 20, 2018 
Book links*: Goodreads | Book Depository

*These include affiliate links, which means that if you click through and buy a book I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. [Full disclaimers here.]


3 stars

The anecdotes in this book — because it is a collection of stories, rather than a continuous narrative — are entertaining, but the narrator is pretty passive in most of them, letting her husband or children take the lead, which diminished my sympathy for her. There’s also quite a bit of overlap and repetition in some minor details from chapter to chapter (which are possibly collected from the blog she mentions, so perhaps the repeated context was in the original post and just left in), and there doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason behind the order of the stories, both of which I found just a little bit annoying.

Still, Stocker manages to paint a pretty vivid picture of the rural lifestyle and especially the transition from city living, keeping in mind both the pragmatic and romantic aspects of it all.

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