The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford

Today I’m sharing one of my 5 star reviews from March 2020 for a book I enjoyed just before lockdown one, in March 2020. Thanks to Corvus Books for a copy via Readers First. The paperback of the book was published in October 2020.

Publisher comments:-

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?

Hardback published in March 2020.

My thoughts:-

I’ve read a lot of historical fiction over the past few years, but none by Elisabeth Gifford so far. I can see that I now need to go and read her previous books. Her new book, The Good Doctor of Warsaw is being published in January 2021.

I enjoyed visiting the St Kilda Elisabeth described, 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 first 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.


By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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