on 3 December 2013
Yesterday I finished reading Jo Thomas's debut novel, The Oyster Catcher. I loved it. Jo created a wonderfully atmospheric sense of place. The opening hooked me immediately and I had to read on. I won't spoil others' enjoyment by revealing how Fi came to find herself alone in a strange place with nothing but the clothes she was wearing and very little money. All was revealed, but an additional twist came as a surprise and deepened my sympathy for her. All the characters are vividly drawn and totally believable. I really enjoyed watching the revitalised sense of community, and seeing Fi grow and change during the story. Sean was a terrific 'hero'. The style, with Fi's scenes written in first person present, and Sean's in the third person past worked really well. It was unobtrusive yet allowed a seamless change of viewpoint that kept the story flowing. I believed in the story, read it in one sitting, and when I reached the end, I had a smile on my face and felt uplifted. What more could one ask from a book?
on 8 February 2014
I loved this book. It did what I wanted it to do and allowed me to escape as I read. What I loved most about it were the vivid descriptions of the lifestyle without being tedious to wade through. I felt I was there with the wind and the rain and could imagine the stinging fingers while cleaning the oysters. It is a perfect and did what I always hope reading will do, grab my attention and allow my brain to switch off. Just one teeny weeny tiny miniscule flaw - a weakness in the writing concerning Dan's character and his relationship with Nancy and Margaret - it felt like it hadn't been thought through as thoroughly as the rest of the book. But don't let that put you off because it is miniscule.
on 29 January 2014
I hadn't heard of Jo Thomas, so bought this book on offer, to try and really glad I did, what a lovely surprise. Jo has a lovely writing style which gives depth to both the locations and especially the main characters in concise way, which allows the story to flow rather than harping back to their individual histories. Lots and lots of laugh out loud moments, somewhat Michael Crawford in parts, but in a lovely way. Really ended up rooting for the characters couldn't put it down in the end. Loved the final chapter, closed the story off brilliantly. Will be buying more of Jo's books. THANK YOU
on 3 February 2014
Very easy lose your self read, good for a quiet relaxing afternoon read with a cuppa. Not at all predictable, good characters and attention holding story, treat yourself.
on 22 December 2013
I have a feeling that Jo Thomas must be either Irish, or live there. She picks up the wonderful Irish psyche and mingles it effortlessly with the English and American 'blow-ins' as she calls them. When I first started the book I had a nasty feeling it was going to be a bit of a Polyanna moment where our heroine breezes in on an ill wind and sorts out all of the town and all its inhabitants by being perky and quirky in a bit of a whacky Bridget Jones-ish way. But no, this heroine puts her muscle where her mouth is and is a bloody hard worker, stubborn and about as unglamorous as a girl can get. In wellies, a waterproof and with her hair tied back she faces the storm that swirls both outside the cottage windows and in the masculine heart of the focus of her affections. I love the way the author jumps effortlessly between thoughts of the heroine and the hero giving that wonderfully tingly feeling wondering how this is going to work out as we want it too. There are plenty of interesting twists and turns in the plot, non of which are obvious or hackneyed.
This book blows as fresh and clean as the wind off the Pacific Ocean blowing at the darks curls of our hero. I loved every character in this book, they are both fun and funny, beautifully drawn and coloured to perfection. I wanted to boo at the baddies and cheer with the townsfolk as they all wake from the doldrums and ultimately relive past glories.
Can't wait for the next one from this author.
on 6 September 2015
he book is mainly told from the point of view of Fi, the heroine, in the frist person tense. But there are times where the narration is told from Sean, who talks in the third person. The first time I read the change in tense and point of view I found it to be a little jarring, but I can see that it was a good way of distinguishing between the two main characters.
The Oyster Catcher reminds me of Sophie Kinsella’s The Undomestic Goddess. Both ladies find them in a situation, that frankly, are unprepared for. Yet, it somehow changes them and they learn that the life that they were living previously may not in fact be the life for them. Yes the romance may have been predictable, but it was the journey to the realisation of that attraction and the discovery of overcoming the past and learning to live your life that makes this life so good.
This is a good-natured, fun book that will have you rooting for Fi from start to finish. The Oyster Catcher left me with a smile on my face – what more could you really ask for?
Sometimes all you need is to read a book that will make you smile and The Oyster Catcher is effortlessly uplifting. It was a book I picked up on a whim and one I soon learnt I had no intention of putting down but more than just being a feel-good story, The Oyster Catcher was beautifully written, romantic, dramatic and faultlessly entertaining. I’ve read few books that feel less like a debut novel than this one and can’t see any way in which Jo Thomas won’t become an accomplished women’s fiction writer. In The Oyster Catcher, she created a community with characters I’m still missing and thinking about and I completely fell for her gorgeous, descriptive writing in what has become one of my favourite novels this year.
Left on her wedding day, Fiona Clutterbuck comes crashing into the small village of Dooleybridge in her wedding dress and the campervan that was planned for her honeymoon. Instantly, I liked Fi and from the opening few pages I knew I cared what happened to her. Fi is searching for a job and encounters Sean Thornton, who employs Fi without her actually knowing what the job entails. Instead of an office job, Fi finds herself working on Sean’s oyster farm, something she knows little about and that’s probably not helped by her fear of water. I loved Jo’s writing of the oyster farm and how well researched it all felt. I didn’t expect to be so easily fascinated by a subject I’d barely even heard of before this book but I was and I loved how the descriptive writing helped me learn about oyster farming without it being overly explained and uninteresting.
As Fi begins working, we see the daily routine she has to work from catching and packing oysters to caring for the animals and making sure they were in the right place unlike a certain donkey that kept wandering off all for the sake of a little romance. Even though of course every day for Fi and Sean was different - it wasn’t repetitive - I thought knowing the few daily jobs they had to do on the oyster farm made it feel believable and not just a job that was made unrealistic for the sake of an entertaining novel. Jo’s writing was charming and I loved all the little quirks of the work on an oyster farm and the humour some of the animals like the donkeys and Brenda the goose contributed to. Working on an oyster farm was not all that straightforward and some of the drama they encountered at work really brought this book to life, from the stealing of oysters to Fi’s disastrous tendencies. The at-times mad antics of Fi’s time on the oyster farm were written with charm and wit. I loved Fi’s inclination to tackle most things put in front of her even though often she had no clue what was happening or what to do about it. I loved her character and the heart and spirit she showed – who knew I could be inspired by a semi-disastrous oyster farmer?
The writing of Dooleybridge and the characters that made up the community was great fun to read too. I loved how wonderfully descriptive it was, from the area to the characters and the feel of living in amongst them in a small community. It felt like the typical kind of community in the way it was built up, from the stirrers and the gossips to the people who are so caring and easy to befriend, yet as they all work together to put Dooleybridge back on the map, it had the lovely spirited feel of a community you’d love to be a part of. Some of the scenes involving the locals down in the pub were my favourites, with the humour and chatting to the force of optimism and not-so-subtle gossiping. Another thing I loved about the characters in The Oyster Catcher was the natural progression of building relationships, from trust and friendship to the romance as well. Actually, nothing about this book was rushed. The flow of the novel was captivating and beautiful and ultimately I adored reading about the lives of Fi, Sean and Grace – what a gorgeous, heart-warming novel.
*book received in exchange for an honest review.
on 12 February 2014
Unconvincing, contrived and slow - therefore not an enjoyable read for me. Just dull really - not what I was expecting.
on 29 April 2015
Thank you to Frances at headline for sending me a review copy.
This book is brilliant I enjoyed every bit .Its romantic and heartwarming and also tells the tale of starting over .Fi has to find who she is in a new place with new people and it doesn’t run smoothly at first.
Shes thrown in the deep end of a new job and lifestyle and takes time to adjust but before long its very clear maybe this is where shes destined to be .
I loved sean and the connection between him and fi ,you are willing for romance to blossom .
This book captured my imagination and you can visualise the Irish coast setting which I would love to see for myself one day .
A mixture of loveable and not so lovable charactars .
Overall a really uplifting joyful read .
Fiona Clutterbuck has ended up in a small Irish town called Dooleybridge, with only her wedding dress and wedding shoes for company. She won't tell anyone why she has fled England and clearly her own wedding, and sets about getting a job and somewhere to stay as soon as she can. Sean Thornton hates to see someone in distress, so when he overhears that Fi needs a job, he offers her one working on his oyster farm. Fi readily accepts, but is worried that her fear of water is going to hinder her, but Sean isn't about to let that happen. As she gets to grips with her new job, new work partner and new home, Fi is determined to keep her past back in England, but will she be able to keep the truth from her new friends?
I really enjoyed Jo Thomas' style of writing throughout this book. It was written in the first person from Fiona's perspective, allowing the story to slowly develop through her eyes. Also, due to this we are made to wait a long time to find out exactly what happened to make her run out on her own wedding, and why she has ended up in Dooleybridge. It certainly leant an air of mystery to the story, and when it was finally revealed, I was surprised because it wasn't what I had guessed along the way! Fiona was a fun character, I really liked the way she threw herself into her new job, and her positive attitude despite her upheaval.
Whilst I really liked Fiona, my favourite character in the book was the other main character, Fiona's new boss Sean. He runs an oyster farm, knows pretty much all there is to know about oyster farming, and is a bit of a recluse as well. Fiona is determined to make him open up, and I really enjoyed the scenes where he let go a little bit and we saw some of his personality shine through. Thomas has written him really well because even in his more grumpy moments, I really enjoyed reading his story and piecing him together as a person and what made him tick. The pairing of Fiona and Sean was wonderful, two lost souls coming together in strange circumstances, but it worked so well.
Thomas writes very well of the village of Dooleybridge. I haven't been to Ireland myself, but Thomas writes it in such a way you can close your eyes and imagine you are standing there in your wellies, watching Sean farm the precious oysters, in the drizzle and the cold. Her descriptions are wonderful, really bringing the settings and characters to life. Even the more minor characters made up of the Dooleybridge residents, were well crafted and quite unforgettable! As the story went on, the pressure of Fiona to reveal all ramps up, and I enjoyed reading to find out how it was all going to end for her, and what choices she would have to make.
Although I am not a fan of oysters - well, I say that but I've never tried them, but given that I hate seafood, I'm willing to bet I won't like them - but this book was a very enjoyable read. Some of the descriptions of the oysters and farming process ran on a bit for me, but it certainly did paint a vivid picture in my mind, and I certainly know a lot more about this topic than I did before I read this book! It was a thoroughly enjoyable book from beginning to end, and Thomas' writing really was a joy to read. I can't wait to read more from Jo Thomas now, what a gem to find on my bookshelf :)