Sometimes a book cover just grabs hold of your attention and your heart. Whilst the content of books is naturally a priority, there is so much to be said for beautiful books, and my goodness – this book is utterly stunning. What is even better? When the inside is as gorgeous as the cover, and this book couldn’t be more beautiful if it tried.
Staying in my historical fiction streak, I moved forwards a few thousand years to meet Fred and Chrissie in 1927 and 1940. Timeline jumps don’t always work, and so when I saw the dates changing, I was somewhat apprehensive. But in this case, it’s perfect, and gathers around you with such energy that you feel yourself slipping under the spell of St Kilda.
The writing in this book is simply breathtaking. It really is just magical. I’m struggling to put into words just how utterly captivating every page is, because I don’t think there is a way to do it justice. I’ve read several superb books already this year, but nothing rivals the beauty of the writing by Elisabeth Gifford. It could easily be poetry or even music, and it is so emotively driven it made me cry more than once.
The amount of research that has gone into representing 1920s life on St Kilda authentically is incredible. You can’t help but be impressed by the heaps of knowledge that is woven into the story, including the village, the lifestyle led, the history of the evacuation and even managing to bring in the archaeological discoveries made fairly recently. It keeps it real; it reminds you that whilst this might be fiction, this is the lifestyle people led for thousands of years.
It is a love story, but more a story of people finding themselves, and finding their place in the world. It is a story of war, but more a story of friendship, bravery, misery, and hope. It spans lifetimes and continents, from the far island of Scotland to the heat of Spain. It shows that your place in the world can be found wherever you are, and the journey to get there is the biggest test life can offer. It is breathtaking and heartbreaking, and is certainly one of those books you find yourself reading until 3am.
The Lost Lights of St Kilda makes you dream of the sound of the sea, the feel of grass on bare feet, and the smell of cooking porridge. This review may simply be full of epithets, but I honestly just want to capture the magic. I’m even struggling to keep my no spoiler rule because I just want to gush about this wonderful book.
Whether you crave love stories, enjoy historical fiction, find comfort in Scottish history, or just want a Good Book – this book is for you.
Many thanks to Readers First for this copy, to the author Elisabeth Gifford, and to publisher Corvus,