Wednesday 15 February 2017

Guest QuickRead Review: A Very Distant Shore by Jenny Colgan

Wanted: doctor for small island. Must like boats, the seaside and having no hope of keeping a secret...
Lorna lives on the tiny Scottish island of Mure, a peaceful place where everyone helps their neighbour. But the local GP is retiring, and nobody wants his job. Mure is too small and too remote.
Far away, in a crowded camp, Saif is treating a little boy with a badly-cut hand. Saif is a refugee, but he's also a doctor: exactly what Mure needs.
Saif is welcome in Mure, but can he forget his past? Over one summer, Saif will find a place to call home, and Lorna's life will change forever.

Review: I was delighted to find this short story from the brilliant Jenny Colgan on the shelves of my local bookshop. It's part of the excellent Quick Reads series. I love short stories, but occasionally they fail to deliver; fortunately, this one didn't fall into that category. 

The story revolves around two main characters. The one we meet first is Saif, a refugee from the fighting in Syria who also happens to be a very well qualified doctor. The other main protagonist is Lorna, head teacher of the primary school on the small Scottish island of Mure, a community in sore need of a new doctor. That is how the characters come together and where the story really starts. 

I'm sure we have all seen the disturbing scenes on TV of boatloads of refugees landing on foreign shores, and those who weren't so lucky. This story looks at one of these refugees from a different perspective - what happens next. Despite their need for a medical professional, how will the people in this small community accept this man from another world as their new doctor, and how will he relate to them? Also, although he is lucky to be safe, there is the question of what has happened to his family and how can he find them. Saif and Lorna are brought together by her father's illness. As the weeks and months go by, their friendship grows, but how far can it, and will it, go?

I really enjoyed this story. It was definitely thought provoking and well worth reading. Although short, it was not lacking in depth and substance. All in all, an excellent way to pass a couple of hours. 

This book is available in paperback or Kindle and benefit the fabulous Quickreads! Just click here to get yours!

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