Saturday, September 01, 2012


This week the lurgy was rife chez Smith. A nasty, chesty cough laid the luthier and I very low. But good things come from everything and my ills gave me a day in bed alone, so I took the opportunity to read a book.

I caught sight of this particular book last Sunday in our local bookstore. The cover photographs of shoes, vegies and a weatherboard house looked somehow familiar. Then the author's name drew my attention and I cried out in delight 'Look Soph, it's a book by the lady who delivers our vegies.' Sophie was fairly non-plussed, but I was well-chuffed to be leaving the store with a copy of 'A Story of Seven Summers' by Hilary Burden.

On my sick day the book was a welcome distraction. It drew me in like a warm hug and snuggled under my new doona cover, I devoured Hilary's memoir so voraciously that I didn't notice the morning slip away until I turned, sadly the final page, left wanting more.

I could describe Hilary's tale here, her move from being a single woman living a glamorous life creating new magazines in London, to building a beautiful life on the island. And I could tell you how she moved to a Nuns' house in Karoola (one of the most beautiful places on Earth) and, with her gorgeous island-discovered love, Barn, created a business sourcing and delivering incredible local produce to lucky people like me. I could also mention all the local island producers who benefit so much from their work. But I will leave the details for you to discover in the book, because you must read it. You must.

You know how some books change you? You read them and the message they give you stays with you and becomes a filter for your way of thinking. This book was not like that. This story did not change me, but did something much more profound that will certainly stay with me for a long time. This book made me more certain of who I truly am.

You see, what I took from this book is that bravery, the courage to follow your heart and instincts, even when they fly in the face of convention or of your own past desires and behavior is essential to making a great life for yourself. As is the courage to open up to possibilities and to back yourself all the way that you know what you need to do and that you can make your dreams a reality.

Hilary and her partner,Barn, have created an enviable life. They have created a stunning simple life where work, family, love, passions and life-at-large are intertwined. They are not separate states, one having to be put on hold, in order to attend to the others.

That is what I hope for. The connection of passions and work that don't detract from family but are just an extension of it, of me . 'A Story of Seven Summers' reminded me that this way of being may take some hard work, but that it is totally possible.

Hilary's words reminded me of all the things I love about this small island - its beauty and it's possibilities. and that there are many people who have lived huge lives around the globe and have returned, with all their stories and experiences, for the love of the lifestyle Tasmania can provide.

Hilary Burden's 'A Story of Seven Summers' brought me to tears, in a good way. It certainly made me feel better. I hope you love it as much as I do.


Tanya said...

Thanks for the review I have pinned it for the future

Allana said...

Excellent review - thanks! For some reason I hadn't cottoned onto the fact that it is our very own Tasmanian Hilary! I can't wait to get my hand on it. Spotted the pin to this post via Tanya... what a great grapevine it is ;)

ally said...

I read a review of this and meant to note it on my phone (maybe I did, my phone has been chewing notes up and making them disappear) to see if the library has it.
Happy, affirming tears sound good

chrisartist said...

I've been thinking of buying this book. Now I can't wait.
Hope your feeling better.