Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Guest Review: A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde

Emily is happy with her life just as it is. 

She has a career as a midwife that she loves . She enjoys living on her own as a single woman. But she’s also feels it’s time for a change and a spot of some sea air.

So when her best friend Rebecca asks whether she’d like to spend the summer cooking on a ‘puffer’ boat just off the Scottish coast, she jumps at the chance.

But she barely has time to get to grips with the galley before she finds herself with a lot on her plate.

Rebecca is heavily pregnant and is thrilled to have her friend on board doing most of the work. Then there’s Emily’s competitive and jealous kitchen assistant who thinks she should be head-cook, not Emily.

And there’s Alasdair, the handsome local doctor who Emily is desperately trying not to notice.

Because if she falls in love with him, as he appears to be falling for her, will she ever want her old life back again?

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Review: When I saw the synopsis for this book I knew that I had to read it. It had all sorts of elements that would appeal to me, especially the sea, Scotland and a puffer boat. I actually listened to the audiobook, which was my companion on a long car journey. It's only the second Katie Fforde story that I have 'read', but I doubt that it will be the last.

The heroine of the tale is Emily, a midwife who has become rather disillusioned with the restrictions put on her by her local health services. She is ready for a complete change, and jumps at the chance offered by her heavily pregnant best friend Rebecca, who runs a floating hotel and is in need of a replacement cook while she puts her feet up ready for the arrival of baby number three. This floating hotel is in fact a puffer boat operating off the west coast of Scotland. Catering to the requirements of the cruise passengers seems a far cry from midwifery, but Emily has had previous experience in this field and is happy to oblige for the summer season.

This temporary change in job brings many new acquaintances into Emily's life, and a number of interesting relationships develop. A friendship with one elderly passenger is particularly strong and reminds us all of the value of older people in our lives. At the other end of the spectrum, Emily also strikes up a friendship with Rebecca's nine-year-old niece, Kate, which reawakens the child within. Then there is romantic interest through Kate's dad and local GP, Alisdair, a widower.

Although I found this story a little predictable, the twists and turns of the plot kept it an enjoyable read. The characters were, in the most, strong and interesting, and there were some thought-provoking incidents along the way. There were also some lovely descriptions of Scottish scenery and wildlife. A cruise aboard the puffer boat certainly sounds a different and enjoyable type of holiday, especially for those who like seafood.

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