Monday, October 29, 2012

A Story of Seven Summers - Hilary Burden

A book review, with love. 

This book has been a kind of bittersweet affair - I have wanted to read it, but also not wanted to.  So, not one to believe in 'fate' or 'it was meant to be' - I picked this book up last Friday when Strawb and I had a girls day out that started at the match-made-in-heaven Bookcaffe.  After morning tea (which sad to say was ordinary, except for the chai latte) I could not walk out of a bookshop without at least buying one book.  There this book was, begging me to buy her.

Let me explain why this was bittersweet.  I first saw this book review in my favorite magazine Country Style.  I could just tell by the cover alone that it was my kind of book - one that would have me wishing for more in my life, wishing to be somewhere and someone else. Chooks, apples, basket of herbs, a veranda ... yep, my kind of book alright.  Reading the review and the words Tasmania and Writer popped up.  OK, this was becoming like my ultimate fantasy (well the one where I am skinny and rolling about in the hay with a long haired Brad Pitt isn't going to happen anytime soon, so I needed a back-up fantasy).

I wasn't so sure about the red shoes, they don't look they would be much use in a chicken pen, but hey, who am I to judge - it was someone else's biography.  Hilary Burden is actually a very down to earth, warm and talented writer.  She left a career in journalism in London to go back to her home state of Tasmania, buy an old run down farm house, called White Cottage, but what Hilary calls, The Nuns House, as it used to be inhabited by Nuns, to live and thrive on her own.

I love the way she writes with such candor, with a personality and light shone on everyday, ordinary things and places.  It was like I became one of her close neighbours or friends and shared everything with her.  And the bonus at the end of each chapter was a country style recipe. I am going to try each and every one starting with the lemonade as I have an abundance of lemons at the moment.

Although I loved the book, and read it in 2 days, I knew it would stir up feelings of deep longing and frustration that I want to live this lifestyle, but I am stuck where I am for the next 5 years at least.  I have always wanted to go to Tasmania, but I cant bear to go visit - knowing that I will love the place and have to make the tough decision to either come home, or give up my family, friends and life here in WA, to stay.

Mr K has made a joke of it for years, that he won't ever take me to Tassie.  He knows too, that my heart won't come back from there if I go.

So, if you have a stronger constitution than me, do read the book if you get the chance.  It's so well written, uniquely Australian and country.  Hilary has also started a fresh produce business, and this is her blog about it. 



  1. I love discovering new Australian writers. Currently reading "The Road from Coorain"by Jill Ker Conway. Only a few pages in, it was recommended by my Mum. It's about an Australian childhood. Now I just need to find more time to read...

    ps I love your original AND back-up fantasies!

    1. I will look for the book you recomend for sure. Thanks. I make myself 'find' time to read, but it is a lot easier now that we are empty nesters!

      PPS: Brad's mine :-)

  2. Sounds like my type of book. Tasmania is an amazing place, I have been twice now and loved it both times.

    1. Did you leave a piece of your heart there too? I will go one day, its on my bucket list.

  3. LOL, I also read about it in Country Style and I have been too afraid to buy the book. I also worry about Tasmania, I love the cold and I know I will fall in love and there will be no going back :)