The Lost Lights of St Kilda, by Elisabeth Gifford
Published by Corvus, 5th March 2020
Genres: Historical fiction, romance, cultural
Frew Lawson journeys to St Kilda with his university friend Archie, son of the Laird who owns the island, to conduct some research for their theses. The young men spend the summer on the island, living among the local community, the last people to ever live there. Only three years later, the remaining islanders are evacuated as they can no longer survive there.
Whilst on the island, Fred encounters Chrissie, a local St Kildan with whom he has nothing in common. In spite of their differences, they strike up a friendship which will change both of their lives. Years later, whilst trying to escape from German-occupied France, Fred dreams only of Chrissie and returning to her.
I absolutely loved this book! Historical fiction is my favourite genre and this one was magnificent. The author was able to capture what life on the remote island of St Kila was like, how the people lived, and sometimes, only barely survived. It made me want to do my own research after reading and find out more about this island and its people.
I also loved the structure of this book. It is told from multiple different perspectives and switches between moments in time as well. I loved when books are structured like this, I love multiple points of view because I think it just makes for such a rounded story. The reader is able to really understand each character and connect with them.
Although this is a sweeping tale of survival in some very harsh conditions, it is also a romance. The love story is so believable. Fred and Chrissie are such different people and seem highly unsuited, especially as Chrissie believes herself to be in love with someone else when they meet. But they become friends organically and that develops into deeper feelings. Just a beautiful love story.
This is a wonderful book and I cannot recommend it enough.
My rating: 5/5