I felt that I wasn’t doing very well in my 2020 Goodreads challenge until I saw the front cover of The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford on NetGalley (thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this book!). I spent 5 years living in Scotland, which is where I first heard about the magical islands of St Kilda, an isolated archipelago of islands some 40 miles off the west coast of Scotland. The Lost Lights of St Kilda is set on the beautiful and remote islands, linking one of the islands inhabitants, Chrissie, to a parallel story featuring Fred in 1940.
The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford
Summer 1927: When Fred Lawson takes a summer job on St Kilda, little does he realise that he has joined the last community to ever live on that beautiful, isolated island. Only three years later, St Kilda will be evacuated, the islanders near-dead from starvation. But for Fred, that summer – and the island woman, Chrissie, whom he falls in love with – becomes the very thing that sustains him in the years ahead.
1940: Fred has been captured behind enemy lines in France and finds himself in a prisoner-of-war camp. Beaten and exhausted, his thoughts return to the island of his youth and the woman he loved and lost. When Fred makes his daring escape, prompting a desperate journey across occupied territory, he is sustained by one thought only: finding his way back to her.
So, what did I think of The Lost Lights of St Kilda ? It’s a sweeping love story, crossing oceans and decades. It is a moving and deeply vivid portrait of two lovers, a desolate island, and the extraordinary power of hope in the face of darkness.
I love a good historical novel and was literally swept away with this book. It’s very descriptive and I felt like I was walking the island with Chrissie. I liked both parts of the story, the descriptions of life in the 1920’s, following the last community to live on St Kilda before it was evacuated in 1930. But I also enjoyed Fred’s journey through war-torn Europe, trying to get back to Chrissie who he had abruptly left over a decade before. When Fred came across Archie in Marseilles I did wonder if the story would have a happy ending and thankfully it did. It’s beautifully written and I’m excited to have discovered the author has written other books, I really like her style.
The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford is published on the 5th March by Atlantic Books and is available via Amazon (affiliate link) and all good bookshops.