A Bach for All Seasons: a love story


Ishtar Books, 2017.

This memoir begins with a dying bach, a dying ex-husband and a son with a dream.

As the bach goes through a surprising renovation, memories surface from the 1960s to 2006: from knitting to kneading of clay, learning the stars of the night sky to practising survival on the land, from entering the rhythm of the seasons to dealing with unexpected disruptions, and from invisibility to standing proudly as an artist and writer.

A memoir rich with reflections on youth and maturity, nature and survival, creativity and resilience.



‘The bach was dying and so was he.’

Francis and Juliet bought the bach in the 1960s, and with it a Kiwi dream of escape and freedom.  Now, forty years after their abrupt separation, the past jumps into the present.

When Juliet’s son asks if she would let her ex-husband stay in the bach for a six-week gathering of a fragmented family, she feels challenged.

Her answer leads to a year of surprises as the bach is transformed, memories loosened and the pattern of a life revealed.


What readers are saying about A Bach for All Seasons

A Bach for All Seasons is beautifully written, wonderfully clear, with vivid imagery that has stayed with me long after I finished the book. The bach, in its various transformations, is a telling metaphor for the transformations in the author’s life.’
—Elspeth Sandys, author of What Lies Beneath and Casting Off, Wellington


‘Juliet Batten’s second memoir is both strongly engaging and intensely moving. She skillfully interweaves the story of an iconic New Zealand bach at Te Henga and her complex relationship with Francis Batten over forty years, both capturing changing times and celebrating the significance of home and love in our lives.’
—Anne Else, author of The Colour of Food: A memoir of life, love and dinner, Wellington


‘A Bach for All Seasons is a vivid New Zealand-flavoured memoir; rich with the times, layered with the seasons and the author’s honouring of these. The tale of the bach repairs unfolds alongside the threads of the past and the tying up of those threads in the present. 

The writing is beautiful; I felt I was being led by the hand through swift transitions with the help of images, the changing seasons, the bach work, dreams and the author’s creative and personal journey. A deeply satisfying story with a strong sense of place.’

-—Sue Matthew, Writing Coach, Lower Hutt


‘Beautifully written and crafted, touching, poignant and interesting’

—Helen Palmer, Director, Institute of Psychosynthesis NZ


‘A Bach for All Seasons is so tender and the language so rich that it was like reading an extended poem. I didn’t quite read it in the one sitting but it certainly wasn’t going to last until the holidays! When I finished reading I just wanted it to keep going, so I started from the beginning again.

It’s your story, but it’s so much more than that because you speak many universal truths about our relationships, especially female/male ones, and how we facilitate the living and the dying of our men — the skill being in not losing oneself along the way. I am probably about half a generation younger than you, but I was transported back to the innocence of my own university days, first love and involvement in the feminist movement.’

—Sarah Deeks, Reiki teacher


‘I found A Bach for All Seasons beautifully written and moving. I love how you wove the past and present together, and your seasons work as well. I couldn’t put it down! And it’s really stayed with me — I’ve been remembering different scenes, etc., all day. I also love the pictures of your seasons work. It’s a vulnerable, intimate book, a gift on so many levels.’

—Dr Mary Shields, healing practitioner, USA


‘The book is indeed a beautiful love story. If you haven’t yet bought your own copy, then do so straight away. Juliet’s eloquent prose brings the story of the bach and her own love story to life.’

—Anne Ruffell, photographer, UK


In this book the changing seasons of nature and of Juliet’s life are skilfully woven together. No reader could fail to be moved by the way Juliet has overcome challenges and developed new ways of being. This book is a blessing.

—Ruth Gardner, writer and celebrant, Christchurch.


‘What a daring story to reveal! It reads like a detective novel that moves in and out of time and place. But above all it is a love story full of wisdom, reflection, acceptance, compassion and trust.’

— Dr Ruth Bonita, writer and health advocate, Auckland 


‘I loved the way you wound the two love stories together and how beautifully and honestly you shared your journey. It felt at the end as if you were leaving us with a story still being lived and explored.’

—Deborah Simm, barrister and story teller, Auckland


‘A grace-filled, vulnerable, courageous story of joy, grieving, struggle, growing, and healing — the things that shape and inform us.’  

—Kathleen Luxon, Christchurch

Additional information

Weight.470 kg


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