Being married to a Scot and spending most of my holidays touring Scotland, I was eager to read this book when I realised I knew just about every place mentioned in the story. I also, bizarrely, had a ready interest in the Fife fishing industry, sparked by a recent visit to the (excellent) National Fisheries Museum in Anstruther. (Read my blog post inspired by that visit here.)
But neither of these factors are required to enjoy this engaging tale of a Scottish teenager on the verge of leaving home, trying to discover herself and and her true purpose in life, from the starting point of a dysfunctional family background with an especially needy mother.
The author skilfully matures her heroine from the early pages where she’s sneaking her mum’s Avon lipstick samples to try out with her best friend, to the end where she – no, I’m not telling! But you’d never guess the ending anyway, as this book is full of twists and turns that keep you reading long after you meant to have put the book down and gone to sleep. (Well, it did me, anyway.)
Funny, poignant, contemporary, and spirited, this excellent first novel includes some superb descriptive passages and turns of phrase, particularly when she’s talking about fish(!) The dialogue is convincing and true, and the story line and characters stayed in my mind long after I’d finished reading it, as I continued my journey round Scotland – it was the perfect holiday read for me!)
Special mention must be made for the cover design. I’d already downloaded the ebook before, by a strange coincidence, I spotted a paperback in my local library, displayed on the “Quick Picks” shelf just before I went on my holidays. It was so beautiful and evocative, that I checked it out and took it on my holidays as well as my Kindle, and saw those colours echoed over and over again on my Scottish travels.
Highly recommended – and I hope Ali Bacon writes another novel in time for my next holiday!
Find out more about Ali Bacon on her website: www.alibacon.com
Incidentally, I can’t pass up this fish-related opportunity to draw your attention to this excellent cause: the Fishwives’ Choir. More information on my blog post about it here.