Catherine Stewart was a sailor and adventurer with a Master’s degree before joining Robert ‘Beansprout’ Long at Gorge River in 1990. Together they brought up their two children, Christan and Robin, in this beautiful but isolated spot on the wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Her long-anticipated biography, A Wife on Gorge River, is her warm and witty account of raising New Zealand’s remotest family, and is a rich complement to Long’s bestselling biography, A Life on Gorge River, offering the perspective of a mother and homemaker in this pioneering, back-to-Nature lifestyle. With no running water, sewerage, telephone or electricity, and a three-day tramp away from civilisation, even the most mundane tasks which most people take for granted — like doing the laundry — take on Herculean dimensions. Then there is home-schooling, battling famine, and coping with medical emergencies . . . even make-do recipes with the barest of ingredients! Stewart proves herself one-in-a-million, and her biography hit the bestseller’s list on publication. The Gisborne Herald has praised it as a ‘complement’ to Long’s account of his Utopia, noting that it provides insight into the practical domestic details of family in such a remote location.
Willie Campbell, in the Otago Daily Times, called it an ‘extraordinary account’ which is marked by its ‘gentle, humorous, self-effacing reflection’, concluding that Catherine is a ‘legend’ just as much as her husband, that West Coast icon ‘Beansprout’.