A rich, immersive, funny and heartbreaking memoir of the charming bookseller who runs two tiny bookshops in the remote village of Manapouri in Fiordland, in the deep south of New Zealand.
"An extraordinary story." —Shaun Bythell, The Diary of a Bookseller
Ruth Shaw weaves together stories of the characters who visit her bookshops, musings about favorite books, and bittersweet stories from her full and varied life.
She's sailed through the Pacific for years, been held up by pirates, worked at Sydney's Kings Cross with drug addicts and prostitutes, campaigned on numerous environmental issues, and worked the yacht Breaksea Girl with her husband, Lance.
Underlining all her wanderings and adventures are some very deep losses and long-held pain. Balancing that out is her beautiful love story with Lance, and her delightful sense of humor.
This will make you weep and make you laugh and make you want to read more books - and make you want to visit Ruth and her two wee bookshops.
"Shaw's writing is pragmatic and restrained; her voice is so strong and assured that when grief appears you gasp at its intrusion and your heart stops a second." —Alexa Dretzke, Readings Hawthorn
"Amazing!" —Jack Tame, Newstalk ZB
"A fascinating, funny and moving story." —Nicky Pellegrino, New Zealand Woman's Weekly
"Shaw can write about these peaks and troughs [of her life] without a skerrick of maudlin introspection or mawkishness. Battered and emotionally bruised, she marches on. In a word, dauntless, and it's exactly this quality that makes this memoir so readable." —Chris Moore, NZ Listener
"Utterly charming and filled with equal measures of heartbreak and humour, Ruth Shaw's memoir will have you booking the first flight to New Zealand to share a cup of tea at her Wee Bookshops. Shaw has been a cook, a nurse, sailor and world traveller, and endured immeasurable loss. But with Lance, the love of her life, Shaw has found her place bookselling in Fiordland." —Booksellers' Choice Australia
'"Compelling. Shaw tells her own story free of over-sentimentality or self-pity; she's straightforward, frequently humorous... Her resilience, optimism and willingness to help others is to be admired; her remarkable story is to be read and reflected upon as it adds another vital perspective to a NZ life." —Dionne Christian, Sunday Star Times