This little island has some big secrets…
Isla’s got her dream job as head stylist at the most exclusive salon in Edinburgh. The fact that she’s been so single-minded in her career that she’s forgotten to have a life has completely passed her by – until disaster strikes.
Out of options, she heads to the remote island of Auchenmor to help out her aunt who is in desperate need of an extra pair of scissors at her salon.
A native to the island, Finn is thirty-five and reality has just hit him hard. His best friends are about to have a baby and everything is changing. When into his life walks Isla…
There are those times when only a thriller will do – and there are those other times, when you want to pick up a book that makes you feel good and that gives you a really good cuddle. Rachael Lucas’ Wildflower Bay was published in paperback and for kindle by Pan on 11th August, and I haven’t had such a perfectly lovely cuddle in a good while.
I was so delighted when I realised this gorgeous book was going to take me back to Auchenmor. It might be two years since I read and reviewed Sealed With A Kiss – you’ll find my review here – but this island and its inhabitants left an indelible impression. This book is 100% a stand-alone read, but I do love it when there’s an opportunity to rediscover characters that you’ve spent time with and loved: they’re all here, mostly in supporting roles, although Finn (who left rather an indelible impression all of his own…) moves to centre-stage.
Isla is a great character – feisty, a bit edgy and brittle, but with a good heart – and very quickly wins you over as she leaves Edinburgh under a cloud and takes on the little salon on the island, as the island takes her to its heart. There isn’t a single character in this book that isn’t fully developed – the girls in the salon are wonderful – and every interaction, every conversation is wonderfully real. I also loved Ruth – a perfectly drawn older character – and her developing friendship with Isla. There are some books where you remain a little bit detached – you read the story, and you enjoy it – but this is one of those books that totally draws you in, and you’re in that little world of Auchenmor in the company of its people until you turn the very last page.
The humour is gentle and lovely – much of it based around the salon, but the scenes at the Retreat were wonderfully done too. There are moments of real poignancy too – at points there could even be tears. As in the earlier book, Auchenmor and its scenery becomes another character – vividly described, from its wild scenery to its claustrophobic community where everyone knows everyone else’s business and nothing is secret for very long. The writing is excellent – perfectly paced, easy to read, natural dialogue – and juggles quite big themes around family relationships, fulfilling potential, the nature of friendship and the things in life that really matter, while never being anything other than totally enjoyable and entertaining.
This was a really lovely read – total escapism. a great story, characters you grow to love, and that wonderful sense of place that always makes a book for me. You might be expecting a light and fluffy bit of chick lit as it begins, but it’s actually something far more than that, and very different – I really enjoyed it.
Publishers Pan Macmillan kindly sent me two review copies of this lovely book. Shall I give away the one I haven’t read? Oh, go on then… here’s the rafflecopter for entry! (UK only)
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About the author
Rachael Lucas lives and works in a Victorian house by the seaside in the North West of England with her partner – also a writer – and her four children.
Her debut novel Sealed with a Kiss was downloaded over 130,000 times on Kindle and was a bestseller. Since then she has written Coming Up Roses and Wildflower Bay as well as a young adult novel which will be published in 2017. She is working on her fifth novel.
Find out more about Rachael at her website: you’ll find the planning boards for her books on Pinterest, find daily snaps on Instagram, and you can also find her on Twitter.