Wednesday, October 05, 2011

LOVE AT THE END OF THE ROAD - rural love story launched at "the end of the road"

It felt like the whole community turned out to cheer author and journalist Rae Roadley on as her poignant memoir and lively local history, Love at the End of the Road, was launched at historic homestead, Batley House, on the Kaipara at the weekend. And not even the brisk easterly nor the threat of rain could dampen the spirits and warm good humour of the 150 locals, family, friends and out-of-towners, who gathered to celebrate the book’s publication.
Rae Roadley paid tribute to former Penguin Publishing Director, Geoff Walker, (right), who officially launched her memoir, saying “It was especially thrilling to have the book launched by Geoff, who was the catalyst for the project, deftly shepherding the book through the publishing process until he left the company. Geoff used to stay at Batley before I met Rex (now Rae’s husband), when he rented the house on weekends. After I submitted some of my newspaper columns to Penguin in the hope they’d make a book, Geoff (and Bernice Beachman) suggested this book instead – and I took on the challenge.” Three years later and the result is Rae’s heart-felt and cleverly crafted memoir,  Love at the End of the Road, which is released this week.
As the wine – for which many thanks to Ascension Wine Estate, Matakana – flowed and the Kaipara’s bounty sated with smoked mullet, mussel fritters, smoked fish vol au vents, lamingtons, sticky date slice and the like, Debra Millar, General Manager – Publishing at Penguin Group (NZ), paid heed to the spirit of the local community and Rae’s very special story, which she knew would be a winner when she first met Rae and husband Rex Roadley.
Debra (left) said “I first met Rae back in February when I made a day trip to Batley with Emma Beckett, the Commissioning Editor who nursed the book, and Rae, through the publishing process. Of course, we were warmly welcomed by Rex and Rae, treated to a wonderful lunch featuring Rex’s legendary Oyster Fritters, and sent home to Auckland with jars of Rae’s delicious home-grown olives. From that day, I knew we were going to end up with a very special book. It’s a very brave thing to do, to write a book, especially when it’s about falling in love at a certain age, moving from an urbane existence to the country, and really stepping outside your comfort zone – and taking a few tumbles along the way. So Rae hats off to you for sharing your story so openly and honestly.”
Rex momentarily stole the show when it came time for speeches, using a ref’s whistle – RWC style – to get everyone’s attention, before extending a warm welcome and relating a charming story about the local Batley Rugby team, who recently featured in the Weekend Herald. The Kauri Museum were on hand to sell copies of Rae’s book and were happy to clock up sales of 75 on the day.
Book launches are always cause for celebration but this one was particularly unique, special and fun. The way Rae’s life is now threaded together with husband Rex’s, whose family have farmed the Kaipara for nearly a century, and the central place Batley House plays in their lives, that of weekending publishing folk, and all those who came before them, gave the launch a significant, almost magical quality. And as Rae said, “without Rex Roadley, Batley House and the steeped history of the Kaipara, there would be no Love at the End of the Road”; Rex Roadley being the most essential of them all!”
Above, left to right , friend Robyn Sands, Rex Roadley, Rae Roadley, book publicist Sarah Thornton
Above - The author has her say!
Rae's charming story is beautifully written from the heart. It is a love story but it also records an important piece of New Zealand social and farming history as woven through her account is the story of the great house itself at Batley and the history of the district. 
Love at the End of the Road is a heart-warming, amusing and inspiring story about one woman's journey of discovery. It is also a very candid and courageous story; one that explores universal themes and delves into the 'hidden corners' of a loving relationship, revealing all its joys and tribulations. Rae writes unflinchingly about what she gives up, and gains, in her new life with Rex, and just what it means to find 'love at the end of the road'.
A prolifically illustrated and beautifully designed book which I suspect will become a quiet best seller. It certainly deserves a wide readership.
Penguin Books - $40.00
Below some shots of the beautiful Batley homestead taken by Geoff Walker:


Anonymous said...

Oh wow this house is just down the road from us. I must keep an eye out for it!

Yogi@thekitchensink said...

Fantastic news Rae. I can't express my admration enough and I'll certainly buy a copy because I'm a sucker for a love story as well as knowing how hard it is to write that much that well. LOVE the title too. Well done. All the best from a former classmate. Dawa Rowley