When Fred Lawson takes a summer job on St Kilda in 1927, little does he realise that he has joined the last community to ever live on that desolate, isolated island. Only three years later, St Kilda will be evacuated, the islanders near-dead from starvation. But for Fred, that summer is the bedrock of his whole life…
Chrissie Gillies is just nineteen when the researchers come to St Kilda. Hired as their cook, she can’t believe they would ever notice her, sophisticated and educated as they are. But she soon develops a cautious friendship with Fred, a friendship that cannot be allowed to develop into anything more…
Years later, to help deal with his hellish existence in a German prisoner of war camp, Fred tells the tale of the island and the woman he loved, but left behind. And Fred starts to wonder, where is Chrissie now? And does she ever think of him too?
Being published in March 2020
Having enjoyed reading the opening chapters of this book on Readers First, I used my points to ‘buy’ the book.
A few weeks later, as I finished the book, I was glad that I had bought a copy. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction over the years, but none by Elisabeth Gifford so far. I can see that I now need to go and read her previous books.
I enjoyed visiting St Kilda – the detail about the lives of the islanders really brought the island to life. I had no idea about the hardship the people faced – cut off from the world by storms every winter and surviving on very little food. The book looks at different periods in time, including when Chrissie and Fred meet and when Fred is fighting to survive in occupied France.
The book explores young love, jealousy, taking the blame, secrets and the loss of loved ones. Beautifully written, full of interesting details and emotion. One of my favourite books of the year.