It’s a real pleasure today to be part of the blog tour for Fulfilment by Anne Stormont, the third and final book in her Skye series: published in May 2020, it’s available both for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback. My thanks again to Kelly at Love Books Tours for the invitation and support.
Having so enjoyed Settlement, the second book in the series (you’ll find my review and an extract here), I was really looking forward to finding out how life was working out for Jack and Rachel, as they’d most certainly found a place in my heart…
Let’s take a closer look…
The path of true love rarely runs smoothly…
When former Edinburgh police detective Jack Baxter met local author and crofter Rachel Campbell on the Scottish island of Skye, they fell in love. It was a second chance at happiness for both of them.
They both had emotional baggage. Jack helped Rachel cope with unimaginable grief after the death in combat of her soldier son, and Rachel was there for Jack after a criminal with a grudge almost ended his life. There were many bumps along the road but they believed they’d worked through and settled their differences.
However, Jack is struggling. Still suffering from post-traumatic stress, haunted by his past, and taunted by the demons of self-doubt, he feels Rachel deserves better.
Meanwhile, Rachel is busy preparing for the launch of her latest book – a book in honour of her son and aimed at promoting peace. So at first, she fails to notice just how troubled Jack is.
Can Jack overcome his demons? Can Rachel convince Jack he deserves to be loved? Can they finally resolve their differences and fulfil their dreams together?
Fulfilment is the third and final part in Rachel & Jack: The Skye series.It follows on from Displacement (book 1) and Settlement (book 2).
If you like mature, emotional and thought-provoking contemporary romance in a dramatic setting, then this is a book for you.
And I’m delighted to be able to share my review again…
Anne Stormont creates such wonderful characters. Some of Jack and Rachel’s issues are familiar, easy to identify with for anyone in later life – the legacy from their earlier lives, their wins and losses, their relationships with their families, their concerns about whether commitment would jeopardise the independence and freedom they now have. But Jack has some even bigger issues, perhaps not so familiar to many, caused by his life experiences, and that create an even greater barrier to their future happiness together.
This is perhaps a rather quieter book than the last – it’s driven more by the relationship and Jack’s efforts to overcome his demons, without any of the externally-driven fireworks, but it certainly didn’t make me like it any less. Although there’s a fairly substantial cast of characters – family, friends, acquaintances (and an ex-husband) – this is very much Jack and Rachel’s story and driven by the emotional complexities of their relationship. Theirs was a struggle that made me ache – at times I wanted to bang their heads together, as opportunities to heal and find comfort in each other were repeatedly allowed to slip away, but I also knew that they needed to find each other at a pace that was right for them both.
As with the earlier book, I very much liked very much the way the story was told – taking you inside the characters’ thoughts and feelings, their clear voices, the reasons for the choices they make, allowing you to share their private moments. And sometimes the story is dialogue driven – now and then they’re conversations you feel you shouldn’t really be party to, but it’s a powerful way of making the reader part of their struggle.
There were other elements I really liked. There are the most vivid descriptions of the Skye landscape with a really strong sense of place – life on the croft, Jack’s walks, even the challenges of the weather. And the focus moves once again to Israel-Palestine, exploring some of the issues, introducing a few well-drawn characters, and presenting different kinds of challenges. The impending publication of Rachel’s book is another thing that drives the story, along with Jack’s plans to create a rehabilitation facility and Rachel’s plans for a lasting tribute to her son – all really well handled.
This might be the third in a series – and I particularly welcomed the opportunity to spend more time with Jack and Rachel – but there would be nothing preventing anyone from picking it up as a standalone read, and enjoying it as much as I did. The emotional baggage that weighs them both down and stops them moving forward is fully explained – I rather appreciated that too, as it was a little while since I’d read the last book. I very much enjoy Anne Stormont’s writing – and you might just like it too.
Fancy a taster? My pleasure…
It was almost two o’clock in the afternoon. Jack was now over an hour late and he wasn’t answering his phone. A mixture of fear and dread made my stomach churn as all sorts of what-ifs played out in my imagination.
I’d begun that day in late March feeling excited about seeing him after our two weeks apart while I’d been away in Glasgow. However, my excitement probably blinded me to the reality of how things were between Jack and me and I know I probably should have seen the crisis coming.
I should have acted much sooner than I did to avert it. After all I knew deep down that all was not well with Jack or with our relationship. I shouldn’t have delayed the honest conversation we needed to have. But I’d been so focussed on my work that I chose, at least in the short term, to ignore the signs.
Yes, Jack had engaged with all the treatment he’d been offered, and was still undergoing, since the terrible events of last year, and in some respects he’d made progress – but this was mostly physical. Mentally and emotionally he remained vulnerable.
And, yes, he’d got slightly better at opening up to me about how he was truly feeling, but it still didn’t come easily to him. After all, until relatively recently he’d seen himself as strong, calm and protective – both in his former long career as a police detective and as a man. But now his feeling of invincibility had been taken from him, and for him to admit he was human like the rest of us was difficult.
So, he needed me to be there for him and not only on a part-time basis. He needed me to make time for him and encourage him to talk. In short, he needed more of a commitment from me.
But, being stuck in an unhappy marriage for almost thirty years, had made me wary of a full-on partnership. Therefore, it had been me who wanted to keep our two-year-old relationship on an informal footing. It had been me who wanted us to continue as friends and lovers, but not move in together. However, I’d been kidding myself Jack was all right with that, and I’d recently realised our relationship wasn’t fulfilling for either of us.
About the author
Anne Stormont was born in Scotland and although she has travelled all over the world – including a teaching exchange to South Africa, four trips to Australia and several visits to the Middle East – it’s where she still lives.
She began making up stories as a child in order to entertain her four wee sisters. But as an adult, being busy with motherhood and working as a teacher, it took a long time and a mortality wake-up call for her to get that first book written.
She’s a compulsive crossworder, yoga practitioner, avid reader, keen walker and enthusiastic gardener. She can be a bit of a subversive old bat, but she tries to maintain a kind heart. She also loves tea, penguins and being with her grandchildren.
Fulfilment is the third of the 3 books in the Rachel & Jack: Skye Series. Anne’s books are all set in Scotland and are contemporary romances where the main characters may be slightly older but are not necessarily wiser.