Learn more Download now Shop now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 20 February 2016
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 :)
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 14 October 2014
I don't read a lot of this chick-lit- it's quite wide genre but I do love certain authors of this style, including Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and JoJo Moyes. I've never read any Jo Thomas though, so thought I'd give The Oyster Catcher a go!

This is a feel-good, easy to read novel with likeable characters and a fun, light-hearted storyline that centers around Fi, who's in Ireland for her honeymoon but is now suddenly single, having been dumped on her wedding day, as she lands herself a job with Oyster-farmer Sean. She somehow manages to get the job despite hating the sea and disliking the taste of oysters! Fi quickly makes both friends and enemies in the little village of Dooleybridge, Ireland, and the story dips between light-hearted fun and parts that seem, to be honest, a little ridiculous!

As the novel went on though I warmed more and more to the characters, particularly the protagonist Fi - though at times Fi irritated me a bit with her (bad) choices, and seemed to be a little stupid at times, overall she was quite an amiable character. Sean, Margaret and some of the other villagers were also likeable characters, and I thought it was good that they all had their quirks. Sean particularly was well developed as a character and was quite attractive, despite his moodiness – he was obviously the strong, silent type that so often appears in these types of books. The characters mostly seemed like people you might actually meet in a village in Ireland from the sounds of it! The only characters I really disliked, and not just because of their intended horribleness, were Nancy and the Johnny - they both seemed excessively clichéd, over-the-top ‘baddies’, and when you read the novel you’ll see why!

The Oyster Catcher is easy to read and there’s more going on than just the usual love story which I appreciated. I enjoyed learning more about oysters, something I hadn’t previously read about - that was something a little different! From the beginning of the novel it is clear what is ultimately going to happen and it’s very predictable in this way but the storyline is entertaining with enough happening that it remains enjoyable to read. I did, however, find some parts of the novel a little too hard to believe and some characters seemed a little undeveloped.

The descriptions of the sea and people throughout the novel were quite vivid and I could really picture the location in my mind, despite never having visited Ireland. I think Jo Thomas is a good storyteller and it shows through – by the end of the novel I wanted to run away to Ireland and live a carefree life like Fi does! I felt that, although she had a horrible time with her fiancé, she was quite lucky to be able to start afresh, even just temporarily, in a place where no one knew her, and this caught my imagination as I read, and will no doubt do the same to other readers.

Overall: This would be a good book to take on holiday; nothing too deep or thrilling, it just ambles along at a good pace. It’s not ground-breaking in terms of originality and is predictable but I enjoyed it nonetheless, and feel it's worth giving a go if you fancy a simple, easy read that will leave you feeling warm inside. I'd be interested to read some of Jo Thomas' other novels too.

It also really made me want to try oysters!

** For more book reviews, check out my blog: http://snazzybooks.wordpress.com **
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 31 October 2014
I'd initially purchased and downloaded a copy of The Oyster Catcher when it was first published as an eBook but like many of my own purchases it has been languishing on my Kindle waiting to be read. But what a gem I had been missing out on so I'd like to thank Frances at Headline for sending me a proof copy of the paperback that's being published next week.

From the very start you are drawn into the drama after hearing about Fiona being jilted on her wedding day which resulted in her taking off in a camping van and ending up in an Irish police cell! Before she knows it she's the talk of the town but maybe hanging out in this remote village in the middle of nowhere will give her the breathing space she needs to decide what to do next...

What follows is a hilarious tale of how Fi finds herself a job, for which she knows nothing about that involves her having to try and overcome one of her phobias, as well as caught up in the midst of a few dramas. It's actually hard to write much more without giving away spoilers but suffice to say it's not all plain sailing for anyone but it all works out well in the end.

It's clear that Jo Thomas has done her research about oyster farming, there's enough information to gives us a feel of what's involved but not overly technical to put readers off.

I loved the real community feel of Dooleybridge and the way everybody knew everyone else's business, and that's definitely my personal experience from having lived in a village in the past, but at the same time generally caring about and looking out for each other even newcomers like Fi.

A fantastic debut novel from Jo which was the perfect escapism read I needed this weekend, I literally could not put it down and read it at every opportunity I could get. I'm already looking forward to reading her next novel The Olive Branch which is being published in February.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 17 January 2014
The Best Thing You Never Had was a difficult read, but only because I found it so evocative of my own experiences that I sometimes felt Ms. Lawless was reading my mind! It's a truly impressive feat to convince a reader so thoroughly of a shared experience, as her engaging narrative, characters and setting spoke right to me in a way I can't remember feeling before. I felt that I was right there with these people, experiencing their woes and triumphs that so perfectly illustrate the complexities and heartaches that come from being closer to your friends than your own family.

Although a little slow to warm up when it comes to the characters (only because there are quite a few introduced at once), Lawless creates people so real it's actually a little disconcerting! By carefully balancing individual traits with well-known stereotypes, I was able to get to know these people whilst also drawing comparisons with people I know in real life. It's where the real genius lies; everybody knows a "Leigha" (self-possessed, manipulative, but also vulnerable and lost) or a "Nicky" (motherly, idealistic, desperate to fit, but unsure of her own choices)... By the end of the book I realised that I didn't actually really like any of the characters wholeheartedly, but thanks to Lawless' lively narrative and the sheer life-likeness of the characters, I didn't even care!

There are no heroes or villains in this book, just young people with good and bad in them, trying to move through their lives despite their flaws. There's a lot of love and a lot of pain as the characters navigate through their final year at University and the reunion five years later, and I often found myself internally screaming at the painfully life-like actions of the cast, unable to believe what they were sometimes doing to one another! But of course, nothing ever strays from the bounds of reality, and the real pull of the book lies in the fact that what happens to these people could just as easily happen to you (and probably has in parts!)

Overall, this is a book about young love in all it's forms, and the first thing I did after finishing it was take out my phone and text each of my own little group of friends that I'd met and had the best years of my life with, telling them how much they still mean to me.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 26 January 2018
This is the first of Jo's books I've read, and In airway searching for another to add to my every growing, long list of books on my kindle.

Fiona, just married and supposed to be on her honeymoon, driving around Ireland in a camper van; has an accident in Dooleybridge, gets into trouble with the local garda, loses the camper van and gets a job, all in the surface of a few hours. The job is on an oyster farm run by Sean, oh, and she's afraid of water!

Sean, a reclusive oyster farmer has taken over his Uncle's farm and is in desperate need of help, but not just any help, the person needs to know nothing about oysters! he's also not a local, and so is treated as an outsider by the local villagers.
There's a dog called Grace, 2 donkeys, some hens, geese and sheep.

As the story progresses mishaps happen, Sean's girlfriend, (an oyster broker), although pleased he has help isn't keen on Fiona being there. Somebody trys to steal the oysters which Sean needs to keep him afloat if he's to get a licence to farm and sell his oysters is now clean local waters.

Somehow, Fiona finds herself co-opted onto a committee to help raise the profile of the struggling village, each business is finding it difficult to stay open due to lack of trade, so something needs to happen to entice tourists back to the area.

Friendships are made, romance happens and there's lots of fun and laughter. Well worth a read, the characters are carefully written and the story flows really well.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 June 2014
I really wanted to like this book, but in hindsight I probably should have steered clear as i'm not a massive fan of romances, but I really really wish I was! I ended up downloading a few in an attempt to make myself like them and this was the first one out of the bunch that I read.

Unfortunately, I found the plot ridiculously farfetched, I just can't imagine someone would run away from their wedding, not tell anyone where she is going, and have nobody looking for her? Surely someone must have wondered where she had gone/was worried about her? I just didn't get it. The main character, Fi, was overall a likeable character, but I HATED Shaun (the Oyster Catcher who she moves in with). He just seemed like a total idiot and I didn't like him at all. I also found the plot very predictable which was a shame. There was some curveballs I suppose but nothing out of the ordinary and after the first chapter you could guess what was going to happen in the end.

I thought the writing style was okay, albeit hard to read in a lot of places but i'm not really sure why. A lot of people have mentioned the amount of grammar issues, there was a few but not as many as I was anticipating but I bought the kindle version so I suppose it could have been edited for the kindle!

Overall I think the book went on for far too long. There was certain points I thought "hang on this sounds like the ending and i'm only 50% in", which happened on about 3 occasions and I was very relieved when it finally did finish! I don't know whether this is just me because I don't like romances so I suppose someone else might enjoy it more!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 13 November 2014
I have just finished reading The Oyster Catcher, I literally didn't put it down and ended up devouring it in one evening! The author Jo Thomas has such a beautiful and skilled writing style and she manages to draw you into the storyline with such ease. Never before have I read a book or even had any kind of knowledge when it comes to Oyster Farming so I was surprised at how. Ugh my interest was piqued in this book, I found myself getting quite tense and mad with the arrival of Pirates!

Our main character Fi quite clearly has a dramatic reason for arriving in Dooleybridge and I loved how the author slowly fed us snippets and clues as to what had really happened to her. Fate seems to occur when she is in desperate need of a job and lodgings she meets Sean who is also in desperate need for someone to help on his Oyster Farm. Sean was a lovely if somewhat spiky character but I soon felt he had a hard shell ( see what I did there!) with a soft centre. There were some wonderful characters in this book and also some wonderfully bad characters, I found the characters were all so engaging.

There really is so much to commend in this book, from an interesting and unique storyline, a well written romance, a lot of down to earth humour, the odd touch of secrets and scandal, well written characters and a big dose of community spirit, what more could you ask for?

I was so excited and immersed in this storyline that now I am finished I feel a little flat! This is such a wonderful read one of my favourites of the year, I do love it when I find a new talented author and I am so shocked to find that this is a debut as for me this book was flawless, I can not wait for another book by this author.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
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.
0Comment| 83 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 19 August 2016
I don't normally go in for this type of book - you know the sort of typical lightweight, forgettable summer holiday type of read. But I got a free credit from Amazon and thought I would give it a go after reading the reviews. And I was a bit weary of reading heavy classics (free on Kindle though!) and fancied a break.

I looked forward to reading this every evening, it provided a nice bit of escapism and set the scene very nicely. Yes it is full of clichés and the ending is a bit happy clappy, but there is something in this book which takes it just bit above the normal holiday reading fluff. I just can't put my finger on what it is!

I did find the occasional change of narrative jarring and unnecessary though, and many of the scenarios are totally far fetched, but that's escapism I suppose. Despite the lengthy descriptions I still can't really picture how oyster farming works, something to do with tables in really shallow water that are covered at high tide? Which you can drive a tractor to but then you also need a boat?

Overall I recommend this book, and would probablyy read more Jo Thomas. Now it's back to Thomas Hardy...
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 2 March 2015
Fi English crash lands in a sleepy town that long ago was famous for it's oyster Festivals But that was then, and times have changed,
Now there is one lone oyster Farm, where Fi finds herself. With a chap called Sean who owns the place. He is there together with two donkeys, some hens & geese all of which he inherited from his Uncle. He is desperately trying to make a go of the farm and has advertised for an assistant. Fi has not seen this advertisement & to make matters worse is terrified of water, but takes the job!! Why you might be thinking, ahhh well, now
That would be telling you too much.
Some great characters & I thought it was an excellent story too.
It was a great book & I looked forward reading it.

I think if you like An old fashioned
'who done it's
Though this is not one really one
but it has that sort of feel,
I'm trying to think, if you liked the film
If you like films like
'While you where sleeping' or
'Walk in the clouds' for just two examples
Then you would probably enjoy it a lot.
I do hope this helps a little, I can't recall
Book names or titles sorry.

Happy reading :)
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Need customer service? Click here