Sunday, July 6, 2014
By Karina Bliss
My brother-in-law’s extended family has holidayed in Pataua North for four generations. When one of the family baches came up for sale, he and my sister bought it. It’s a tiny bach on a spit of land, idyllically positioned with the estuary on one side and the surf beach a hop, skip and jump from the other.
Pataua North is a place where generations gather, where you measure your day by the tides - collecting pipis in the estuary when it’s low, launching the tinny when it’s high, and in between times sitting in a deckchair and watching its slow ebb and flow.
It’s a place where nightlife is a game of Monopoly or cards and the only way to get to the campground store (only open in summer) is to walk across the footbridge separating Pataua North and South or kayak across the estuary. To reach Pataua South from Pataua North by car you have drive for forty-five minutes around the mainland.
I love the tiny fibrelite bach with its lean-to bathroom and the shower that hasn’t got decent water pressure, no matter how much you fiddle with the taps.
I love eating blackened marshmallows from salty driftwood sticks around a fire on the beach and watching the little ones paddle for hours as the stingrays drift by.
I love that the TV reception is poor and all the kids congregate on the communal back lawn of crunchy kikuyu because there are no boundary fences.
I love that sweeping the sand out every couple of days counts as a clean-up.
Staying at Pataua North is like taking a deep, fresh breath of tranquility. It takes me back to my childhood when kids ran wild and came to adults when they needed to tattle or be fed, when conversation happened casually, when silences were golden and so were the summers.
It seemed the perfect setting for a gentle romance between a psychologically wounded soldier and the widow of his best friend – my June release, BRING HIM HOME. (Though I changed Pataua’s name to fictional Stingray Bay so I could put three boatsheds by the footbridge).
Here’s what it’s about:
Former soldier Nathan Wyatt had no choice but to leave his army buddy to die, a secret that's still tearing him apart.
Two years on, he's in Hollywood prostituting his war medal for work as a bodyguard to the stars when his best friend's widow drags him home to fulfil his neglected responsibilities to her family trust.
When he discovers Claire can't forgive her late husband for breaking a crucial promise, Nate sees his path to salvation. He'll be his buddy's advocate, secure Steve's place in his wife's memory.
The last thing he intends is to find himself in a love triangle with his dead best friend.
Will admitting the truth - all of it - set him free, or alienate the woman he's come to passionately love?
I can’t wait to leave a copy on the bach’s bookshelf.
How about you? Got a favorite place you like to retreat to? Whether it's a park bench, a coffee shop, a holiday destination or a book.
Note: The picture is of my niece, Cassie, who has appeared in two of my books, SECOND CHANCE FAMILY and STAND-IN WIFE.
PS: Looks like I've made it to the third round of DABWAHA.If you enjoyed HERE COMES THE GROOM, I'd appreciate your vote on March 22/23!