"A Woman in the South Pacific" is one of my favorite books of the past year. It's a work of art in so many ways: Written from the art, photographed with an expert eye and gorgeously designed.
"I came of age in the islands of Oceania," starts author Sherée Lipton in her beautiful book. "The South Pacific is where I bloomed, fell in love, had my heart broken, and found God. Both my daughters were conceived under coconut trees."
She captures a time and a place, starting her travels to Oceania in 1967. Because this area stayed off the tourist map for so long -- even today, long travel times keep the thundering hordes largely away -- 1967 in a place like Vanuatu is like the 1920s in Tibet. Lipton was even at that date in the vanguard of visitors to a largely unspoiled series of cultures that she explored, in the Cooks, Fiji, Samoa, French Polynesia and Tonga.
It was a romantic time and a romantic place, and she took island lovers. Most memorable is Lepani, the father of her oldest daughter, also described in her first book, "Fiji I Love You Full Speed" and the love of her life.
This is a photo-packed and rare book where text is first- rate and not an accompaniment, and the photos are first-rate and not an afterthought. You'll see what look like large dolphinfish landed on the Samoa docks and basic village life in remote Vanuatu. Beautiful scenics and family portraits capture the people of Oceania, the expatriates among them and visiting royalty, real and Hollywood style. Thanks Sherée for organizing and sharing these stories in such captivating form.