Wednesday 19 February 2020

Guest Review: The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas

Dooleybridge, County Galway: the last place Fiona Clutterbuck expects to end up, alone, on her wedding night.
But after the words 'I do' have barely left her mouth, that's exactly where she is - with only her sequined shoes and a crashed camper van for company.
One thing is certain: Fi can't go back. So when the opportunity arises to work for brooding local oyster farmer, Sean Thornton, she jumps at the chance. Now Fi must navigate suspicious locals, jealous rivals and an unpredictable boss if she's to find a new life, and love, on the Irish coast. And nothing - not even a chronic fear of water - is going to hold her back.

Join Fi as she learns the rules of the ocean - and picks up a few pearls of Irish wisdom along the way...

Review: Having just finished and loved Jo Thomas’s latest book, Coming Home to Winter Island, I was determined to read more of her books. I have started with her award-winning debut novel, The Oyster Catcher. I was hoping that this would be of a similar standard to Coming Home to Winter Island, and needn’t have been concerned. Once again, I was hooked by this story right from the start and finished it in just 2 days, left with a desire to make a trip to the west of Ireland.

The central female character in this book is introduced to the reader as Fi, a young English lady who has somehow ended up in Dooleybridge, a small Irish town on Galway Bay that once had a thriving oyster industry, but is now somewhat rundown. The reason why she is there apparently without any means of returning to her home is explained gradually as the story progresses. Desperate for money and somewhere to stay, she accepts a job from the somewhat mysterious and moody Sean Thornton, an oyster farmer with a property just outside the town. Despite a crushing fear of water, she settles into her new life, however temporary she hopes it might be. However, as time goes on, she finds herself drawn to the town and its many characters, and hoping that she can find a way to save Dooleybridge and, most of all, Sean.

I really enjoyed this book. I was captured from the very beginning by Fi’s plight and liked the way that the author gradually introduced the story of how she came to be marooned in Dooleybridge. The town itself was very well described, and I could just picture myself walking along its streets and walking into its bar or coffee shop. The locals were just as I would imagine in a small town - all eagerness to find out what Fi was doing, and, in some cases, suspicious of her motives. They certainly added quite a bit of humour to the story. Sean Thornton was a strange character that I wasn’t sure if I was going to like. I was worried for Fi going to live and work with him, but he grew on me as he began to thaw. Despite the dilapidated state of his farm, its setting on the shores of the bay sounded very attractive. I began the book knowing nothing about oyster farming, but feel as though I have learned quite a bit about it. I won’t be consuming an oyster any time soon due to my shellfish allergy, but the thought of eating them fresh out of the sea had my mouth watering. This is another Jo Thomas novel that I would recommend to other readers; I am looking forward to the next one.

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

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