- Author: Lizzie Lamb
- Published: July 2015 by New Romantics Press
- Category: Contemporary Romance
ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life. Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast – where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.
Ishabel (Issy) Stuart is introduced in dramatic style with a race along the causeway to Eilean na Sgairbh, against the incoming tide and an impending thunderstorm. She’s on her way home to her aunt Esme and the house she grew up in, now a B&B, along with a wounded heart and her father’s ashes. She needs the serenity of Cormorant Island, her aunt and a heart to heart chat. But Esme has guests, a motley crew of elderly activists, and was due to leave with them the following day, on a campaign against fracking.
One guest, however, plans on staying, which does nothing for Issy’s erstwhile plans for peace and quiet and a shoulder to cry on. Gorgeous, sexy and American, Brodie unsettles Issy, not least of all because she suspects there’s more to his visit than Brodie’s letting on.
He looked like trouble with a capital ’T’ and instinct told her it would be best to avoid him at all costs – good looks notwithstanding.
‘Go to the kitchen and you’ll find out. My aunt’s breakfasts are legendary. You’ll need to stock up before you leave.’ There – that was about as polite as she could be without actually telling him to pack his bags and go. She’d come home to lick her wounds, not to find an unwanted guest in situ who’d doubtless come to search for his Scottish roots and probably considered himself a direct descendant of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
As always, Lizzie Lamb’s wonderfully distinctive, strong characters are well defined and fascinating with developed back stories which are revealed as the story progresses. The growing attraction between Issy and Brodie is fun and romantic, and the cast of secondary characters are just as enjoyable. Not forgetting to mention one of the best – Pershing the parrot, of course, who has a penchant for colourful and highly amusing remarks, delivered just at the relevant moments. I laughed at the prying group of pushy village busybodies and could just imagine how everyone’s business was talked about and dissected. Issy is in for a few shocks, she has no idea of the events about to unfold or the secrets to be uncovered.
Realistic, authentic Scottish dialogue, convincing and laced with humour, and great characterisation, adds to the charm. The Scottish setting is beautifully described, the island’s coast and scenery are easily imagined. I love that Lizzie Lamb always adds much more to her stories than just romance, this one incorporating humour and conflict. The mystery surrounding the now ruined Stuart’s Twa Burns whisky distillery is fascinating and the question of what on earth does Kentucky have to do with a distillery on a remote Scottish island. There’s a romance that almost never was, and more besides, making this a great read for those that like added extras to their romances.
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About Lizzie Lamb
After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided it was time to leave the chalk face and pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, honed her craft and wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), quickly followed a year later by Boot Camp Bride. Lizzie loves the quick fire interchanges between the hero and heroine in the old black and white Hollywood movies, and hopes this love of dialogue comes across in her writing. Although much of her time is taken up publicising Tall, Dark and Kilted and Boot Camp Bride, she has published a third novel SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS and started research for number four. Lizzie is a founding member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press. In November 2014 they held an Author Event at Waterstones High Street, Kensington, London the icing on the cake as far as they are concerned – and a fitting way to celebrate their achievements. As for the years Lizzie spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste as she is building up a reputation as a go-to speaker on the subject of self-publishing.