For Lynette Robinson, writing her memoir was to show people that you can overcome the past, beat the inner turmoil of abuse and neglect and make a better life. It's all about the choices you make, she says.
The Central North Island company director and stress management consultant's Where The Rainbow Fell Down is a gripping memoir set in mid-20th-century New Zealand.
It's an inspiring and thought-provoking read that touches on pieces of New Zealand history, which are woven throughout the backdrop of the author's life including the struggle she and her husband had when breaking away from the dominance of the Catholic Church to find a life together.
No matter what life throws at you, people can overcome it if they have the strength to move forward, Robinson says.
"I'd like to think my story illustrates the truth that life can get better, that you can persevere and overcome difficulties.
"While the tough times and the sad events of your life can overwhelm you at the time, and will remain with you forever, there is life and light at the end of the tunnel," she says.
Growing up in a dysfunctional family with a disturbed mother, absent father and an abusive stepfather, Robinson was indoctrinated into the beliefs and rituals of the Catholic Church.
She could easily have become another statistic of poverty and abuse.
But she didn't, overcoming one negative soul-destroying situation after another.
Her journey grips the reader making you hang on to see how the child will cope with each tough situation.
Sometimes she used humour to get through, other times defiance, but more often than not Robinson struggled with the pain and confusion of a child conditioned to believe she was worthless.
You will be spellbound as the child lives through fears ingrained by a mother deeply fearful of crossing the church and God.
The journey is deeply moving.
Robinson was wise for her age and worked through difficult circumstances, including the deaths of two siblings, with much understanding and determination.
The glimpses of hope offered by others who care about her was what made her bent on being happy and remaining sane.
These supporters enabled her to survive the abuse and neglect until, at 14, she broke free, albeit not for long.
As a naive 18-year-old, Lynette found herself trapped in marriage to an older man who was controlling and dependent. Although she did not love him, the birth of her first child led to her salvation.
Life further opened up through books and led to Robinson questioning her own religious beliefs.
Her journey was shared by people from whom she drew strength, and who drew strength from her. Their stories unfolded within hers.
She tells of the struggle of a man, "forbidden fruit" with whom she fell in love. Not in an explosive way, but gently, with understanding of him - a Catholic priest.
Coerced into the priesthood as a young man, he wanted to break free of the control of the church to find his own "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow".
His story is as inspiring as that of the author and leads the reader to discover a church seldom spoken about.
The reader is not only taken on a personal journey about two people who finally find peace together, but shares slices of New Zealand history, among them the Wahine disaster, Prime Minister Norman Kirk's death and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
While writing the book, it seemed fitting to include these moments in history, Robinson says.
"Looking back on my life I realised that not only had I experienced many personal and public events, crises, highs and lows that others of my generation lived through in 20th-century New Zealand, but also that my relationships and marriage with a Catholic priest was a pretty unique situation.
"His story, I felt, would be of particular interest today as it reveals a lot about the Catholic Church and the pressures on those within its orbit. And I also began to write my story."
Good choices lead to the path of inspiration and hope for every person caught up in things they have no control over.
These situations either break us or make us, as happened with Robinson.
Despite gut-wrenching pain she walked on and achieved a prosperous and successful life.
Where The Rainbow Fell Down
By Lynette Robinson
The Copy Press, $29.95
For more information go to www.wheretherainbowfelldown.co.nz