Robin and Garry Robilliard had big dreams of owning their own farm but only a very small budget with which to purchase one.
Knowing better properties closer to town were out of their reach they settled for Rocklands, a rundown property on very marginal hill country over the Takaka Hill from Nelson.
Not only the farm was rundown, the house was too, allowing too easy access for mice and rats.
The three previous owners went broke trying to farm the property and given the challenges they faced the Robilliards could easily have done so too.
But they were determined to keep hold of their dream and their farm and they persevered where many others would not have.
Farming this hard country required demanding physical work and mental toughness.
Robin recounts the their trials and triumphs without self-pity and with a sense of humour, painting a vivid picture of their life and times and the people who played a part in them.
Farming and raising their children would have been enough for most women but Robin also managed to write entertaining accounts of their life for the Auckland Weekly and was a guest on the TV programme Beauty and the Beast.
This led to opportunities for travel writing and accounts of her travels behind the iron curtain are included in the book.
Hard Country is an interesting and inspirational read which will appeal to a wide audience, not just those with a connection to farming.
That said, if you have a farmer in want of a Christmas present, this book would make a good one.
Hard Country A Golden Bay Life by Robin Robilliard is published by Random House.