De Vine Tours’ two-week walking trip through New Zealand wine country is billed as a trip of a lifetime: sumptuous food, great wine, fabulous scenery, easy walks and wonderful homestay accommodation.
For Lindsey McIntyre, writer and illustrator, the tour seems like a recipe for success. She will be able to sketch, research for her new book and most importantly, become more independent. It’s time for her to take some vital steps to overcome the legacy of a difficult childhood and move on with her life.
Despite her fears and lack of confidence, Lindsey soon makes friends with fellow tour member, Eleanor, and begins to get to know her other travelling companions: older couple Eddie and Vi; socially inept Cedric; bristly Bianca and the elusive Simon and Andrew.
How will these relationships develop over the course of the two weeks? Will Lindsey manage to break free from the traumas of the past? And what will happen when a mystery threatens to derail the journey altogether?
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Judge’s Commentary, 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards:
I rather like Keitha Smith’s THE JOURNEY which seems like something of an EAT, PRAY, LOVEish tale of self-discovery in a gorgeous landscape. I’m assuming that Smith is either a resident of New Zealand or spends considerable time there, as the descriptions of the landscape seem to me to be spot-on. New Zealand is practically a character itself in this piece, and that seems exactly as it should be. What strikes me most about THE JOURNEY is the quality of the sentence-level writing—it’s often elegant, rich, funny, and evocative. And the story itself, while it has a certain level of predictability to it, is always compelling, largely because Lindsey McIntyre is a lovely heroine, one with whom we’re willing to spend time. Overall, there’s much to admire in this book, and I see relatively little room for improvement. I can imagine a great many women readers in particular responding to both the setting and to Lindsey’s situation and quest.