With her first novel, The Strength of Eggshells, author Kirsty Powell has taken the unusual step of placing a main fictional character amongst real people.

After visiting the Bridge to Nowhere, which spans the Mangapurua Stream in Whanganui National Park, Powell became fascinated with the settlement that existed in the valley until 1943.

The land in the valley was allocated to 26 returned soldiers and their families after World War I and the isolation posed all kinds of challenges for them.

After reading Arthur Bates' 1981 book The Bridge to Nowhere, Powell began interviewing descendants of the Mangapurua Valley families

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