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Island Wife: living on the edge of the wild Hardcover – 28 Mar 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Two Roads (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444759582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444759587
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 3.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Island Wife A memoir of a woman's life on a remote Scottish island - from 19-year-old girl to wife of one to mother of five, hotelier, domestic miracle worker, to empty nester to writer. For fans of Wife in the North and Sightlines. Full description


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Katharine Kirby TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A near miraculous tale, well told, of a courageous, bright, strong woman who of necessity has to reinvent herself several times during the few decades we get to know her. Judy Fairbairns is clearly relishing her chance to the tell her side of the story; as one half of a full on no holds barred marriage, managing a relationship that shows every dangerous sign of being teeteringly top heavy in the `Master of The House's' direction.

The work that she gets through with a laugh and a wink will take your breath away as much as the sheer poetry she finds on her Topsy Turvey Island. Every day is an adventure, much is asked and much is given, this is a different life, for sure, a paradise for children, free of the computer, phone, tv, just clear sea air and trees to climb, deer to watch, animals to care for. As Judy generously ties up all the loose ends we feel part of the family and our caring is respected to the extent that I am now longing for the next decade to unravel for the Fairbairns one and all.

The writer is always prepared to accept personal responsibility. She made me feel close to her during the small tragedies, domestic emergencies and demanding challenges that inevitably cropped up. Mistakes are made and openly admitted to, with wistful regret. I liked the way in which Judy does take things to heart so; it rang a lot of bells for me. We are bred the same way!

At last a book that enlivens, entertains, rewards and touches the heart. As I romped through I kept thinking of different friends and family I want to buy it for, knowing that they would really enjoy it too.
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By S. Jones VINE VOICE on 18 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I obtained this book at the same time as getting Cheryl Strayed's Wild and thought it might be interesting reading about these two remarkable women and their challenging experiences.

This is Fairbairns' story of her life as a carefree, somewhat rebellious, young woman swept off her feet by a hardy 'alpha male' farmer and their unusual transformation from successful farmers to opening the first whale watching business in the UK. Her writing is vivid yet matter of fact, laced with heartache and humour.

I do think the book would appeal to women readers perhaps more than men. I say this as my wife read it as well and she said she could relate to some experiences and statements Fairbairns expressed more than I did as a less than alpha male! Perhaps as a result my wife enjoyed this book more than I did.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having spent a summer working there...I find her story has a lot of artistic license. I am glad she came through all of this, for her, but it was very difficult to work there with all the underlying hysteria, and "Alex" with his total indifference to it all. The kids were great, but it was very clear that Judy could not do what she wanted to do on any given day..... and everyone suffered.
It was an experience, and the locals talked about them all the time! "Granny at the Gate" was a wonderful woman, who tried to bend over backwards to help out, but in the book Judy depicted her in a sort of busybody title. I feel Granny did not get the appreciation she deserved. I loved it when she popped in, her presence brought a normality to the day. The kids loved her visits, and granny was a wonderful baker!
So now, Judy is able to indulge in all her artistic talents and moving on. Good for her, but the book...well, not quite what I expected.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
How I enjoyed this book. Quite different, so well written and I was swept along with the tales beautifully described by Judy Fairbairns of her life on meeting Alex.
I really don't want to give much away but I will say that Island Wife as well as humourous does leave you feeling your life is quite possibly dull / far too sedentary; as Judy tackles life on a Hebridean island with 5 young children, a vast estate to run (encompassing hotel, cottages, livestock, inlaws and pets) with quite the most chauvinistic, uncommunicative yet charismatic husband.
The book touches on her bouts of depression and feelings of wretched self esteem, lack of identity and 'joy de vivre'. You really want to reach out and give her a big hug. I also felt enormously frustrated at her stoicism - that's women for you!!
However - the ending is good - and I immediately looked up her blog to see where she is at now.
Her writing is beautiful. I am quite sure most people will really enjoy this book.
I am taking on board totally her Can Do attitude and I'm not complaining about my comparatively meagre domestic chores!!!!!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My goodness but Judy Fairbairns deserves some TLC* and TTH* and recognition for her extraordinary life! Married young, lumbered with 5 children and a husband who has no idea of what a woman needs (at least occasionally!), Judy has spent her entire adult life working like a slave at her husband's businesses - first a farm, then a massive hotel with add-ons like a recording studio and whale watching business with farm animals as well. I read this book in one day with increasing horror and respect for the way that Judy, completely unprepared for this way of life, rolled up her sleeves and got stuck in, year after year, with no reward, no money, no recognition, no hope of remission. Her husband was an 'ideas man' who kept coming up with ways of working and making money all of which involved her in pretty much 24/7 work as well as trying to bring up a family. This is a truly remarkable story of survival almost against the odds and I would recommend it to anyone who thinks (a) farming sounds like a nice ecological thing to do, (b) running a guest house will be fun, (c) being married to a farmer would be romantic, (d) having lots of children would be stimulating, (e) living on a remote Scottish island would be a great way to get away from it all ... this book will cure you instantly. It should also be read by anyone who thinks they have a hard lot in life - compared to this woman, you are sleeping on rose petals in some kind of utopian paradise!
This would be a great book to give a disgruntled teen who thinks their life is too hard, or a complaining co-worker who thinks they work too many hours, or almost anyone who thinks that their current life is tough - trust me, this woman had it much tougher for much longer.

*Tender Loving Care and Time To Herself
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