Annabet and her younger brother Anders grew up in idyllic surrounds on the lower north shore of Sydney in the 1950s. They lived in the original boatshed on Balmoral Beach and had an Australian mother and an imposing Swedish Naval captain for a father. However, nothing was as it seemed and Annabet and Anders were exposed to harsh, often irrational and frequently violent discipline from both parents, which left them emotionally unbalanced and starved of affection. In a time where domestic violence was never discussed within the family let alone outside it, Annabet and Anders struggled to keep their spirits and souls afloat. But at least they had each other.
Anders became an internationally recognised chef and restaurateur, who left his legacy on the Australian food scene. He also was a talented potter holding numerous exhibitions of his works. Annabet became a children’s clothing designer and manufacturer whose clothing line was stocked in various boutiques Australia wide and David Jones department store.
Despite their outward success neither could escape the legacy of their violent and disturbing upbringing. Anders never overcame a secret he kept tragically to himself and Annabet was perpetually wracked with self-doubt due to her mother’s continual criticism.
This beautifully written story not only traces the history of growing up on the north shore but the gradual evolution of the food and fashion scene in Sydney in the 70s and 80s. It encompasses many areas of day to day struggles within families that were not discussed then and which are, sadly, still occurring today. An engrossing read, it will evoke many nostalgic memories of Sydney in the 6os, 70s and 80s.