Series: Summer Seaside Kitchen #3
Published by William Morrow on October 16, 2018
Source: the publisher
Narrator: Sarah Barron
Length: 7 hours, 35 minutes
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On the remote Scottish island of Mure, the Christmas season is stark, windy, and icy—yet incredibly festive and beautiful…
It’s a time for getting cozy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram and a treacle pudding with the people you love—unless, of course, you’ve accidentally gotten pregnant by your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In the season for peace and good cheer, will Flora find the nerve to reveal the truth to her nearest and dearest? Will her erstwhile co-parent Joel think she’s the bearer of glad tidings—or is this Christmas going to be as bleak as the Highlands in midwinter?
Meanwhile Saif, a doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons on this remote island where he’s been granted asylum. His wife, however, is still missing, and her absence hangs over what should be a joyful celebration. Can the family possibly find comfort and joy without her?
Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for a Highland Christmas you’ll never forget!
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Flora lives on the island Mure in the North Atlantic with her large family of brothers and her father. She runs the Seaside Kitchen and is very happy and in love with the American Joel, who has relocated to the island. Flora has just found out that she is pregnant but is very nervous about telling Joel her news as he has trauma from his childhood and she worries that he may not want to be a father. As the novel begins, Joel has been away in the US on a business trip, but he is due to return and Flora knows she can’t keep the news from him.
Meanwhile Flora’s best friend Lorna is the island’s schoolteacher. She’s in love with Saif, the island’s doctor. Saif is Syrian refugee with two young sons. They’re all settling nicely into life on the island-doing well in work and school, making friends, experiencing Christmas for the first time. But Saif’s wife and the boys’ mother has been missing in war-ravaged Syria for a long time and Saif has major feelings of guilt over moving on with life without his wife.
These characters and so many others pulled at my heartstrings. But honestly I expect nothing else from a Jenny Colgan book. She has this way of writing these accessible people that are quirky and vulnerable and funny, and I always fall in love with them.
Mure is very different from where I live here in Eastern NC, on the east coast of the US. The weather, for one, is so different from the weather as it is described there and the darkness throught the day makes for a difference too. But island life in general in Ms. Colgan’s books is something that is so foreign to me-I absolutely love reading about all of it. I love the way the islanders live life together: I love the way they come together to face tragedy and heartache, because there is some of that in this story. I also love the way they help one another out when there are needs, and they encourage their own, and they lift one another up. It all has a very, very cozy feel to it.
So much happened on this little tiny island as the book progressed-it was so entertaining! As I got toward the end, though, things started happening very quickly. With EVERYONE. It was fine; I’m not saying this is a bad thing. What I’m saying is that my heart was beating quickly because I felt lots of things for all of these characters, wondering how everyone would fare in the end. And in the end, I was sad to close the book. This is a familiar, comfortable feeling for me with Ms. Colgan’s books. Her worlds are worlds that I just want to BE IN.
It’s interesting (and very frustrating) that I had no idea that this is actually the third book in the Summer Seaside Kitchen series when I started reading. Certainly the book read just fine as a standalone, but there are places throughout the story where it is obvious that people that started with the first book and have kept up must be in the know about Joel’s traumatic background, for example, or about Saif’s arrival on Mure as a refugee. On the one hand, all this will do is make me pick up the first two books right away because I’m dyingto know more about every single one of these characters from the very beginning. On the other hand, I was gritting my teeth that I didn’t know everything already. That’s silly, I know, but I LOVE Jenny Colgan’s books. (Amazon and Audible do not have these books tied together as a series, as far as I can tell, so I thought I was reading a standalone. Doggone it.)
This book is an absolute delight, but there is certainly plenty of story that remains to be told. In any case, whatever Ms. Colgan decides to write, I’m here for it. While I’m waiting, I NEED to get my hands on the beginning of this series, and then I’m sure I’ll be reading this one again.
Even though I received a paperback of this book for review from the publisher, I used my own money to buy the audiobook for myself because I loved the narration when I listened to the sample. Sarah Barron is the narrator and I loved the way she pronounced the names of the people and places, and the way she pronounced certain phrases that were spoken during the book. It was almost musical to listen to her read this story, and in purchasing this audiobook, I was able to continue listening to the story when I had to put my paperback down when I had to do things around my house like cook and fold clothes, etc.
Title: Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan
Series: Summer Seaside Kitchen #3
Narrated by: Sarah Barron
Length: 7 hours, 35 minutes, Unabridged