A Summer at Sea Paperback – 9 Feb 2017
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"It’s a delightfully engaging read." (Sunday Express)
"Warm, brilliant, and full of love, drop anchor and curl up with this." (Heat)
"A supremely engaging book from the doyenne of contemporary romance….it is Fforde’s characters that give this book its irresistible emotional pull…a thoroughly modern tale of love, career and family, perfect for a relaxing afternoon on the sofa." (The Lady)
"A lovely read." (South Wales Evening Post)
"If I had to choose the perfect writer to cheer me up on a shivery winter’s day I’d definitely go for Katie Fforde…" (Emma Lee Potter blog)
About the Author
Katie Fforde lives in the beautiful Cotswold countryside with her family, and is a true country girl at heart. Each of her books explores a different profession or background and her research has helped her bring these to life. She’s been a porter in an auction house, tried her hand at pottery, refurbished furniture, delved behind the scenes of a dating website, and she's even been on a Ray Mears survival course. She loves being a writer; to her there isn’t a more satisfying and pleasing thing to do. She particularly enjoys writing love stories. She believes falling in love is the best thing in the world, and she wants all her characters to experience it, and her readers to share their stories. To find out more about Katie Fforde step into her world at www.katiefforde.com, visit her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @KatieFforde.
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The editing of this book has improved significantly but some of the redundant thinking and commenting about "does he love me, does he not?" sort of stuff remains and could have been trimmed.
Still, I'm glad for an engaging story in mid winter to remind me of past sailing in the Hebrides, and I'm really glad that the Puffer gets some much deserved exposure. Yes, you too can sail on board! And you can get a wonderful cookbook THE PUFFER COOKBOOK which has fabulous recipes, lovely photos and pictures and wonderful comments from the authors and from Nick Walker.
Strong, independent female lead - CHECK. Emily is a midwife who advocates for home birth and making the whole process feel as natural and calm as possible. When she butts heads with the local GP and a prominent local over a birth she decides she needs to take some time off and reassess her priorities.
Support network of female friends - Emily has few friends but the ones she does have are strong, trustworthy do anything for you types. She has Sally at home, a colleague and staunch friend. Then there is the childhood friend Rebecca who comes to her rescue by offering her a job as cook aboard their Puffer for the season.
Interesting side characters - Bille the galley slave who is a bit of an adversary for Emily. Maisie the elderly lady who shares Emiy's passion for knitting. Lizzie the local health visitor cum midwife.
Adorable but strangely normal children. Rebecca's two boys are everything that a boy should be and rarely are in novels (maybe they are a bit Swallows and Amazons-ish but I like that in a fictional child). Katie, Alasdair's daughter is mature beyond her years but still retains the innocence of youth and the delight in the little things.
Gorgeous surroundings - The North of Scotland never seemedso beautiful. From the views off the deck of the Puffer to the little island retreat, it just gets better and better - even if the weather doesn't always co-operate.
Romance - Off course there is romance but this is a more grown up version. No head over heels but a gentle meeting of the heart that flounders (as it must in all good love stories).
In short there are no surprises here for anyone who is a fan of the genre or of the author in particular. What there is, is a gentle plot that trickles along like a burn allowing people to find their space within the pages and for us, the reader, to absorb the simple wonder of life through them. With charming locations and realistic characters you feel just as cosy as the lounge on the Puffer sounds. There are no surprises along the way and everything unfurls exactly as you would predict but it is still an awful lot of fun getting there. This makes it a gentle, life-affirming, read perfect for curling up with a mug of hot chocolate and your snack of choice.
One question: Don't they eat vegetables in Scotland? I am an American and I was interested in all the many mentions of food throughout the book. The characters consumer langoustines, fish pie, lasagna, bread, rolls, sandwiches, and lots and lots of cake. The only mention of fruit was some wild raspberries, and there was not a single mention I could find of vegetables.
Naturally the ending was foreseeable with Emily and the Doctor getting together, it is always good to have a happy ending even when you know what is going to happen.
Another gem from Katie.
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