THE SUMMER SEASIDE KITCHEN – Jenny Colgan
Flora is a country girl from Mure, a tiny island north of Scotland, who escaped to London after the death of her mother to find herself, pursue her career and be as anonymous as she likes. London is now her whole world and she is taken in the exhausting but exhilarating pace of life in the city and like many Londoners she forgets that there is a whole world lying beyond the M25 until one day her boss asks her to take care of a big project on the island of Mure.
Back home, her family farm is slowly decaying. Waiting for the case which brought her home to start Flora begins an “Operation cleaning” of the family house and randomly gets her hands on her mother old recipes book. Flora discovers that she is indeed a very fine cook and start feeding her father and feckless brothers who mostly survive on sausages. Her cooking is like a balm on old wounds and very slowly she starts bounding again with her brothers.
Eventually the case that brought her to Mure starts and we follow the rise of Flora. She goes from being a shy paralegal into a confident young woman and she finally gets the opportunity to show everyone what she is really made of.
What I liked about the book
The landscapes of Scotland are very present throughout the whole book and she slowly falls in love with her island again and we understand that she might stay a tad longer than she think.
I find Flora very likable and as a “Londoner by choice” I truly understand why she couldn’t see herself go home. I absolutely loved the description of the rural Scottish islander’s life, the beauty of its shores and the hardship of making a decent living there. I really like the way she finds herself through Mure and cooking. The love story was also very interesting as she finds herself attracted to two very different men, one rather traditional but kind and “sturdy” islander and the other being her infuriating boss. I will not spoil the end for you but I was very satisfied with the path her love life takes in the end.
My Overall Opinion
I was under the spell of Mure after 1 hour of reading so I was very “sad” to find out that this amazing island doesn’t exist. It is a fictional island. Nevertheless the landscapes described by the author are based one the Hebrides and the Shetlands so I will definitely go on a trip to discover these islands next summer.
A perfect travel, love, initiation book. Take it with you if you are heading to the beach or on a roadtrip!
Overall a very enjoyable book.