Wednesday 29 January 2020

Guest Review: Coming Home to Winter Island by Jo Thomas

Do you need to find out where you've come from before you can know what the future holds?
Ruby's singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.
But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It's time to go and see the grandfather she's never met.
City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won't be welcome at Teach Mhor.
But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.
There's an unexpected guest in the house and he's not planning on going anywhere any time soon ...

Review: This is my first book from Jo Thomas. Set on a remote Scottish Island, the story looked right up my street, and, indeed, once I sat down to read, I was transported to that island and found it hard to come back to reality until I reached the end.

The main character in the book is Ruby Macquarrie, a singer on the verge of success, whose career dreams are thrown off course by a phone call from an unexpected source. Suddenly, instead of heading off to the Canary Islands on a retreat, she is on a ferry in the midst of choppy seas heading for Winter Island, and the Scottish house that was once home to her late father. The phone call was from the solicitor of her grandfather, a man she has never met due to a family breakup. Her seemingly simple task of signing papers that will allow the sale of the rundown house, releasing funds paying for her grandfather to be moved into care, is hampered by the presence in his house of a visitor who is not about to move out. As her stay on the island lengthens from the brief stop planned, she becomes more and more drawn into life there and towards the taciturn Lachlan, her grandfather’s guest.

I absolutely loved this well written story that left me with a warm feeling and an aching desire to visit Winter Island with all its beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife and wealth of interesting inhabitants. Jo Thomas has captured life in such a community, where everybody knows everyone else’s business and they care for each other; they are certainly keen to find out what Ruby wants with her grandfather, Hector. I can easily picture the tall and strong Lachlan and enjoyed watching Ruby chip away at his dour exterior as the story progressed. Once she had him on side, they made a formidable team and I found myself cheering them on in their endeavours to do the best for her grandfather and save the island as a whole. I was hoping against hope for the outcome I envisaged. It would be wrong not to mention the fact that the story contains frequent mentions of food that had my mouth watering. Lachlan was apparently quite a cook, turning out a range of goodies from full meals and hearty soups to shortbread and scones. Gin also plays a big part in the story, as Ruby and Lachlan try to recreate the drink that was once produced so successfully I n the island’s distillery.

I have really enjoyed following Ruby’s emotional journey getting to know her grandfather and learning about her ancestors. I can’t recommend this book highly enough, and will definitely be reading more from Jo Thomas.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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