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I had not read any novels by this author before but I found this one to be captivating.

This is the story of daily life on a small Hebridean island. I am not sure exactly of the time in which the story is set - somewhere between the fifties and the seventies I think. Kirsty inhabits this small island with her sons and her eldest son's fishing colleague. The island had had many other inhabitants in the past but Kirsty owns the island which she has inherited from her husband - it appears that she was married twice to two brothers but her eldest son is actually her step-son. It seems that there is a previous book outlining this history but it is repeated in this novel and I didn't feel that I needed any additional information to enjoy the story.

Very little happens in this book and I think that it is stronger for that. Kirsty goes about her everyday existence without many modern conveniences and you get a feel for what life has been like in isolated communities over the years. This narrative is enhanced by the glorious descriptions of the scenery amongst which she lives. As the tale progresses more and more people begin to touch this lonely life - some English tourists, some geologists, a new bride and a woman in distress. Kirsty welcomes them all with a common sense attitude to their problems and lots of food. Eventually the island and Kirsty begin to change and there is a feeling that there will be greater change in the future.

Don't read this for great plot development - this is a story of people living in their landscape and of change and how they adapt. It might appear slow but I didn't find this - I thought that it was interesting and revealing about a life with which I don't have any experience. It was well told and captivating reading.
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on 29 March 2013
In the past I have really enjoyed Ms Beckwith's autobiographical books but this was the first fiction book of hers I have read.
First, I found having the glossary at the beginning difficult for Kindle reading and it would have been more helpful to have had a translation at the bottom of the page for the first time each word or phrase appeared.
The writing was , as with all of her books, very good and it had been well proof-read, but the story was confusing and not really 'stand alone'.
I understand there was a book before this one and I very much hope there is a sequel as the ending is very much up in the air and unsatisfactory. The characters are quite flat and although we are told where Jamie fits in -her stepson - we aren't told how Euan Ally came to be on the scene, or indeed anything about his family or background.
Kirsty is of uncertain age and it seems odd that she married the first time at 40, was married 10 years, then her first husband died and she married his brother (how long after or how long the marriage lasted isn't explained). So when did Wee Ruari, her son, make his entrance? Surely she was too old to have had him during her first marriage - or he is too young, as it seems he is only primary school age when the book ends. Is the the progeny of her second husband? If s, she was over 50 when he was born. All very confusing and I'm guessing one needs to read the earlier book before reading this to make all become clear.
I found this book to be very drear and not well put together at all. I was very disappointed in it and won't be reading any more of this author's fiction books. This was certainy not worth the money I paid for it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 March 2013
A very gentle story that you don't have to think about. Set on a remote Scottish island, the author brings the area to life in her descriptions. A little light on plot, the story concentrates on the day to day lives of the characters, their existence being dominated by scratching out a daily living on an island which whilst beautiful, is also extremely harsh. It is beautifully written but I would have liked a little more drama and to have got to know the characters more. The story is told completely from the point of view of Kirsty and even there I never really felt that I understood her, or knew her at all.
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on 14 May 2013
I did enjoy reading this, but not as much as the original Lillian Beckwith series beginning with The Hills is Lonely. Somehow there was more reality in those than in this book. It was interesting in that it gave a glimpse of the way things were, but it was not what I would call a compelling read and I probably would not recommend it to anyone. My husband felt the same - it was all too easy to put it down.
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on 27 April 2014
Lillian Beckwith got me with her first book years ago and I just adored them all so started to read them again. Being English she was a breathe of fresh air with her description of living on an island in Scotland.
Every book was a new description from mating the cattle to digging peat.
Very interesting book.
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on 14 April 2013
An enjoyable book which allowed me to relax and imagine the world of Kirsty and family and their island life,no dark plots just gentle reading from a superb author,I think it might enhance the reading of this book if the previous life of Kirsty was read before hand in An island apart" although where Euan Ally came from is a mystery.
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VINE VOICEon 30 May 2011
Lillian Beckwith seems to capture the true essence of life in the islands and through her superb writing relays it to the reader.
I have most of her books and enjoy each and every one.
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on 12 April 2013
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the characters in it. The harshness of life and the tough conditions made for interesting glimpses into a different time and place. Look forward to reading another of Lillian Beckwith's books, and would recommend this book.
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on 6 August 2017
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on 17 September 2013
i always feel that I'm looking over her shoulder as she writes. The way she writes is so warm and observant about the human condition. Yes these books are set in a past that is well and truely gone, even in the Isles, but it makes you want to have been there when love and life was a little gentler and slower.
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