Synopses & Reviews
A working actress and divorced mother of two young boys takes off for the summer to the coast of Nova Scotia. She falls in love with the place; buys a house; ultimately buys an island because it is the view from her house and because she wants to save it from development. With the help of none other than the real-life assistant to the legendary vet James Herriot, she finds herself the owner of a flock of quasi-wild sheep on Blue Island, Nova Scotia. So begins Anne Barclay Priest's wonderful tale of her life between New York and Nova Scotia that extends over the next several decades. Her hilarious and heart-warming stories populated with evocative local characters and unforgettable animal friends recount the trials and tribulations of this urban actress/rural farmer life. It's the story of a woman who has dared to live the kind of independent and self-directed life that the rest of us only dream about.
"Priest, an actor turned shepherd, ambles through the story of her part-time renunciation of Cape Cod summering and New York City loft living to settle in remote, idyllic Nova Scotia in the 1970s a change that brought 'richness and beauty' to her life. Prompted by nostalgia for her cozy childhood home, she makes a fateful series of impulse purchases in Nova Scotia: a 200-year-old house and then an entire island. A craggy wilderness of alders and brambles, Blue Island wears a menacing air, reflected in topographic titles like the gulch named Hell Hole. Priest, undaunted, plunges deeper into the pastoral archetype to populate the island with a flock of sheep, learning the finer points of shearing and worming as she rears them for the butcher. She warms to the frigid clime by virtue of gruff but friendly neighbors on nearby islands, who pitch in to school her in the agrarian ways. Priest's humor appears in flashes, as when she unleashes an amorous ram upon her flock. But her narrative, lacking focus, too often meanders into more ponderous city affairs, distracting readers from immersing themselves in island life." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A poignant story of one woman's determination to start a life anew in idyllic Nova Scotia, far away from her jetsetting-New Yorker roots.