Michelle Vernal


Half my lifetime ago when I was twenty-one and sporting a bad perm I had just returned rather full of myself despite the hair to Auckland after an 18-month stint in the UK. I came home to the news that my parents were selling the family home where I had grown up in Auckland’s suburban Hillsborough to open a B&B in Oxford. My first thought understandably I thought seeing as mum and dad hail from Liverpool originally was that they were returning to Britain. I pictured myself hopping back on a plane to go and freeload at their new premises in the ‘city of the dreaming spires’.

Turned out they were actually upping sticks and moving to the small rural town of Oxford, North Canterbury in New Zealand’s South Island. I’d never heard of it and as I was in between doing very much at all I came down South with them to check it out. When I saw how far from civilization it was, a whole fifty-minute drive to Christchurch, my face fell. Dad tried to cheer me up by telling me he had a cunning plan to find me a rich Canterbury farmer. He has a very dry sense of humor my dad, but I didn’t crack a smile when he said he planned on waving a $100.00 dowry out the upstairs window. It didn’t work, but it did all work out in the end.

It’s funny the way life pans out. I would not have believed it if anyone had told my twenty-one-year-old self that at the grand old age of forty-three I would live back in that small town of Oxford. That’s not all though wait for it….next door to my parents I would have told them they were being ridiculous. Here I am though back in Oxford. We live in an old house that, and I like to use the royal ‘we’ when in fact it’s all down to my lovely hubby Paul has done up. We have two gorgeous boys, Joshua, who at 11 has just started to roll his eyes at me a lot, and Daniel, who is nine. There are two sheep on borrowed time chomping away in the paddock, hens scratching around and three cats mooching about the place. Most days when I have packed the boys off to school and done the bare necessities of housework I can be found stretched out on my bed. It’s not because I am lazy but rather I like the view through the French doors to the gardens, and it happens to be a very comfy spot with my laptop open on my lap writing.

Books By This Author

“The past was her Pandora's Box and the lid was about to be lifted.”

“After reading this book I felt like I just took a fast and very much fun trip to Ireland. I recommend this to all chick lit lovers but especially the ones looking for a departure from the usual chick lit fare.”

“Chick-lit meets romance in Vernal's witty debut novel. The Brazilian Job. With each comical predicament she had made laughing the whole way through. ”

Pamela Guerrieri literary judge RWA on The Brazilian Job

“Come with Annie Rivers on a fun and flirty journey as she discovers what really matters in life.”

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