Pippa Blake: Journey by Pippa Blake (Penguin, RRP $50):
December 5 marked the the anniversary of the death of one of New Zealand’s true adventurers, Sir Peter Blake, and I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who remembers distinctly where I was when I heard the awful news that Sir Peter had died at the hands of bandits on the Amazon River.
I’m equally sure I’m not the only one who was shocked to realise that this year’s anniversary marks a full decade since his death. Those 10 years seem to have slipped by incredibly fast and life has moved on for his widow, Pippa, and their children. But as with any family that loses a loved one, there are memories and mementoes scattered about their lives.
This book, subtitled “a private view on the 10th anniversary of Sir Peter Blake’s death” is just that: a very private view of the both the life and death of a man who was so much in the public eye, we probably all thought we knew him.
The book opens with what is without doubt anyone’s worst nightmare: the moment Pippa Blake answered the door to the news that her husband had been murdered.
From there, we hear about his funeral in England and memorial service in New Zealand and simply how Pippa coped with the awful reality of the loss of her husband.
She takes us back to the week before his death, back further to the time when they first became a couple and walks us through what was certainly an extraordinary life in an extraordinarily personal manner: there are newspaper clippings, family snapshots and some amazing paintings by Pippa.
Sir Peter’s sporting and adventure achievements were well documented both before and after his death but this book offers a deeply personal insight into the lives of the Blake family.