Book 91 – 95 Scottish Themed Books (and more islands)

Maybe I should be on holiday all the time or take up reading as a full-time profession finding December as good for reading as July maybe why I love the holidays.  I have  spent much of the holidays reading as I did in July.  Does help when you have a husband who finds cooking relaxing so I get a rest while he is home before taking up cooking duties again.

By complete coincidence or luck the next five books were all set in Scotland in one way or another.  I like reading books that are set in Scotland partly as its my home and if I was to write one suspect the first location would be in my home country.  Also it immediately gets me in the location of the book.

Book 91 -The Road Dance by John Mackay

Given as a loan by a friend who knows my love of the Hebrides and in particular Lewis and Harris.  It’s written by a STV journalist who if you get STV you may know.   One of the anomaly’s of living in the Scottish Borders is that we don’t get Scottish ITV but North of England so didn’t know the journalist.  But I did enjoy his book.  It is set in Lewis at the beginning of World War One in a small village in Lewis.  Drew me in straight away I was there in a small village on the coast of Lewis.  A young couple who up to now had no interest in one another have a chance conversation and realise that they have the same dreams and fall in love.  But war is declared and at a ceilidh the night before the young men set of for war all the lives in the village change for ever.  Not going to say anymore other than this captured for me the spirit of Lewis at that time and although probably one of the saddest books I have read this year I appreciated not sugar coating the topic or the spirit of Lewis but I applauded a love of a mother……worth a read.

Book 92 – Thin Air by Ann Cleeves

I love the Shetland Books by Ann Cleeves and had resisted this new book since its publication in September but could resist no longer so bought it and as I knew I would read very quickly.  I had actually just been watching the Shetland series again much to my daughter’s annoyance she kept saying but you know who did it.  I did it that wasn’t the point if I can take myself off to the Islands I will even if there is a murder or two involved.  This story like many of her other’s I thought I knew quite quickly who had done the deeds.  I was wrong and like any good crime book I did a double take when I realised who had carried out the murders.  What can I say I like crime dramas in book format or on TV if they are done well and have compelling characters and I love Islands.  Spent a few good hours on another place entirely and felt the better for it when I returned.

Book 93 – Curiosity Cabinet by Catherine Czerkawska

I was just finishing the above Thin Air when I got a message from a friend recommending this book.  It’s set in 17th century Edinburgh and a Hebridean Island as well as in the current time.  If an island is not named in a book I try to guess so my guess here is that it is Gigha could be wrong but that is where I was when I was reading it.  Really enjoyed the book could relate to both the historic and the contemporary story and enjoyed the Edinburgh parts of the books as well though the Island part was when I was at my happiest.  The main character in the book returns to her childhood holiday island for her summer break after a broken marriage and finds that this time the island and it’s residents have a hold of her and she can’t settle back at home.  Having spent much of the summer after my return from Harris feeling out of place  I could relate to this.  It wasn’t though just my own personal tug to the islands.   This is a really good read and I will in due course read more of this author’s books.

Book 94 – The enlightenment of Nina Findlay – Andrea Gillies

Read Andrea’s previous book The white lie and loved it and was waiting for this book to reduce in price which I noticed it had so purchased it.  A mixed review on this one though.  I didn’t take to the main characters in this book basically a love triangle between two brothers and their childhood friend.  It was set in Edinburgh but I felt it could have been set anywhere as could the parts of Glasgow that were mentioned.  There was a lack of sense of place.  Anyway Nina the girl in the title ends up on the Greek island of her honeymoon and has an accident and then basically in my view ends up in hospital with a doctor who is a lech and after only one thing and it takes her to the end of the book to realise that.  That is the downside!! The upside is that the love triangle actually becomes more interesting as the story goes on and it did draw me in and I liked the fact there wasn’t a happy ending but a more realistic one that what I imagined at the beginning with a tiny twist.

Book 95 – The Postcard Leah Fleming

Love Leah Fleming’s books they are easy to read and draw you in and usually have some history involved so a hit with me.  I hate the word chick lit find it so demeaning so a comfortable pair of slippers when you know you will have a good read.

Didn’t realise this book was set in Scotland as it starts in Australia and when I realised it was yet another book that goes back and forward from the past to the present my heart sank as all books seem to be like that just now.  But actually this book only returns to the present at the end of the book and spends most of it during the 2 world war and its immediate aftermath and when it returns to the present you are desperate to know who has survived.

Loved this book the Scottish setting was good but it also made me question what makes a good mother and if giving your life to your career or your country is honourable or a waste of time?  I made up my mind but did have quite the think about it will leave you to decide for yourself.

It’s the 28th December as I write this almost at the end of my year and my challenge.  I have chosen my top ten books of the year in many ways that was easy.  Reading 100 books has been a challenge but I do have a few days to go…..

But back to cooking tonight so better get on with it.

 

 
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About fionadranesblog

40 plus mum of two married with a mad cocker spaniel. Along with two colleagues run Bright Light Marketing a rural marketing agency who specialise in getting rural businesss noticed. www.brightlightmarketing.co.uk. Live in St Boswells in the wonderful Scottish Borders. Love books, walking and living life to the full here in the Scottish Borders though its sometimes a juggle!
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