Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Entertaining and satisfying stories economically told
What I look for when reading a novel, regardless of genre, is good story-telling and good writing. I’m also nothing if not eclectic in my reading as evidenced by the fact that the books I’m reviewing today couldn’t be more different from last week’s review.
Last week it was A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone, a bleak, challenging and gripping psychological tale that was under the spotlight.
This week it’s two short and yes, sweet, easy reads. And I enjoyed both The Ferryboat and The Family at Farrshore just as much as I enjoy any book that’s well-written and engaging. I enjoyed them a lot.
Both novellas began life as serials in The People’s Friend magazine. This is a long-established UK magazine aimed mainly at older women. Therefore the author’s remit would have been tight and specific. The original target audience would have been busy, mature women who wanted a bit of a positive and uplifting read. And they’d have got that from these stories, populated as they are with contemporary, relatable and recognisable characters. The readers would not be looking for anything provocative, offensive, scary or challenging.
But it’s important to stress that neither of the stories have a formulaic feel to them, and the serialised episodes translate well into the novella format.
The character’s back stories and what’s at stake for each of them are all expertly handled – not easy to do in this relatively short format. It’s easy to see that readers of the original serialisation would have remained engaged.
Both stories involve characters from different generations within a particular family as well as standalone characters so the reader gets several perspectives on the predicaments and situations that are presented. The plots of both books involve strong female leads and credible male characters and all are facing realistic 21st century dilemmas.
All-in-all satisfying, worthwhile and entertaining reads.
Type of Read: With tea and biscuits or coffee and cake and plenty peace and quiet. A me-time indulgence.
Back Cover Blurbs:
When Judy and Tom Jeffreys are asked by their daughter Holly and her Scottish chef husband Corin if they will join them in buying The Ferryboat hotel in the West Highlands, they take the plunge and move north. The rundown hotel needs much expensive upgrading – and what with local opposition to some of their plans, and worrying about their younger daughter, left down south with her flighty grandma, Judy begins to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake.
The Family at Farrshore
Cathryn is delighted to join an archaeological dig at Farrshore, in the Scottish Highlands. Apart from her professional interest in the Vikings, it means she’ll be at a distance from her recently ex-boyfriend, Daniel. Canadian Magnus Macaskill, is in Farrshore for his own reasons, one of which is to trace his ancestry. As they spend the summer lodging with Dolly MacLeod and her husband JD, Cathryn and Magnus are drawn into the extended family and to each other. But how will Cathryn react when Daniel reappears?
The Ferryboat and The Family at Farrshore are both available as e-books.