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From a casual first glance one could assume this book is just a boring chronicle of a family. First impressions can be wrong and certainly are in this case.
The story consists of a rollercoaster ride, right from birth in Blenheim, to childhood on a 30-cow dairy farm near Karamea on the West Coast of New Zealand where he was raised by a "devoted mother and a frustrated eccentric father".
Life was great on the Coast for youngsters with weird and wacky incidents but with a father who increasingly took to the bottle, the economics of the farm were rocky and life was full of challenges.
Then followed a teenage marriage with a child due. Graeme Horncastle gritted his teeth and was determined to make a go of it.
He was succeeding but then tragedy intervened with the loss of a daughter to cancer, the aftermath of grief and despair, alcoholism, depression, marital crisis and attempted suicide.
Then slowly Graeme, with support, dragged himself up and got his life back together again. Today the Horncastle family own and operate the 86 room Pavilions Hotel in Christchurch New Zealand.
Born in Blenheim in September 1951, Graeme returned to Marlborough and in particular Picton where he and his wife Maureen took over Oxley's Tavern. Then Australia and then to Christchurch where the author tells of the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.
The book is well produced, well illustrated, and makes for absorbing reading. Graeme is honest, at times almost brutally, but the stories and incidents range from laughter to tears.
There's never been a dull moment in Graeme Horncastle's life with its highs and lows. That is relayed to the reader for an entertaining read.