The Strength of Eggshells

Book Author Kirsty Powell
Rights Available World Excl NZ

In the history of Aotearoa New Zealand, Whanganui’s Bridge to Nowhere is iconic: a symbol of hope, of futility, of the hard work of pioneering families who battled to farm the land and lost. The bridge was constructed in 1936 but now has no roads connected to it on either side and is instead part of a national park. For her debut novel, The Strength of Eggshells, Kiwi writer Kirsty Powell interviewed the descendants of the families of the WW1 soldiers who settled in the Mangapurua Valley above the Bridge to Nowhere. She was inspired by their stories of community spirit and resilience in the face of the rawness of their lives.

She’s six feet tall and handles a motorbike like a professional, but Kate has insecurities that match her height and she ignores her past by pushing her fingers into her ears.

Why did her mother Jane only communicate through poetry? What became of her grandmother Meredith who travelled up the Whanganui River on a paddle steamer to marry a returned soldier in the ill-fated valley, beyond the Bridge to Nowhere? And what should Kate do about her own two-pointed love triangle? Somewhere out there are the answers; out where only her motorbike can take her.

The Strength of Eggshells explores the lives of strong rural New Zealanders, set against the fragile isolation of a farm upbringing, two world wars and a landscape that is inevitably slipping beyond reach.

New Zealand Booklovers Award 2020

About the Author
Kirsty Powell grew up in the North Wairarapa in an isolated rural community east of Eketahuna. She now lives in rural South Auckland and splits her time between farming, writing and contracting as an Occupational Health Physiotherapist to local industries. She has also studied psychology, history, philosophy and completed a Master of Creative Writing. She has travelled by motorbike on several continents and by bicycle across Europe.

The Strength of Eggshells combines many of her loves. She particularly enjoyed researching the history of the returned soldier settlement blocks in the Mangapurua Valley and meeting the descendants and one of the original settlers who is now in her nineties and appears in the novel as herself – a teenage girl in the 1940’s.


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Age range
Young Adult & Upwards

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World ex NZ

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What a remarkable first novel. This is such good storytelling and great writing. There are three stories weaving through the book, three generations of women from the same family, all looking for one-another. A wonderful story, at times confronting, but very real and gritty.

Marcus Hobson, The Café TV3