I found this book in the Kindle store on sale a few months ago. I hadn’t really read anything from Scotland, but I really like books based in Ireland so I thought I’d give it a shot. Also, I thought the idea of reading the memories of a country nurse would be interesting as I live in the country.
I was not disappointed by the book. It was in turns hilarious, heartbreakingly sad, full of life, and honoring death. The characters were very real, the landscape and weather had a life and spirit of their own. You actually could picture yourself in the places she describes with the people she talks about. This is one of the rare books that actually made me weep. It is a powerful book that teaches you all about life on an older Scottish isle.
The core of the book takes place on Papavray Island off the Scottish coast in the late 70s. It is actually the second book by MacLeod. The first book covers Mary, her husband, and their two sons moving to the island and Mary taking up the job as the county nurse for the island. In this book, she is settled into her position and you hear the love she has for her patients through the stories she tells of her visits and exploits with them. Her love for the people and animals shines through the whole book. Her different struggles and entertainments she takes in stride and you get a true feel for her personality. Cows in the kitchen, missing children, the local vegetable cart, and broken down cars are only a couple things described and talked about in living, breathing color.
Her writing is elegant and full of rarely used words (in my opinion) and several Scottish terms. I loved reading it because of her writing and the vocabulary she used. You could also hear the Scottish brogue as she wrote by the why she phrased and spelled different words. I think it would be a fabulous book to listen to if you could get a Scottish voice actor.
The only part I was disappointed by (SPOILER ALERT!) was when the family moved to the states at the very end of the book for her husband’s job. However, you still find her love for her family in those pages as well. As it is a memoir, of course there is not a settled ending as I would have made it.
I would recommend this book for anyone who likes reading about Scotland or Ireland. Also, anyone who enjoys a good memoir or even lovers of fiction. It is not a fictional story, but it keeps you entertained just as a fictional book would. It is an enjoyable read that gives you a new outlook on life and a greater appreciation for nurses.