Description from Goodreads:
One year ago, before Fate took a wrecking ball to his life, Nichol was happily working on his doctorate in linguistics. Now he’s hip deep in sheep, mud and collies. His late brother and mother had been well suited to life on Seacliff Farm. Nichol? Not so much.
As lambing season progresses in the teeth of an icy north wind, the last straw is the intruder Nichol catches in the barn. He says his name is Cam, and he’s on the run from a Glasgow gang. Something about the young man’s tired resignation touches Nichol deeply, and instead of giving him the business end of a shotgun, he offers Cam a blanket and a place to stay.
Somehow, Cam quickly charms his way through Nichol’s defenses and into his heart. Even his grandfather takes to the cheeky city boy, whose hard work and good head for figures help set the farm back on its feet.
As the cold Scottish springtime melts into summer, Nichol finds himself falling in love. When tragedy strikes, Cam’s resolutely held secret is finally revealed and Nichol must face the truth. He’s given his heart away, and it’s time to pay the price.
This was just incredibly sweet, bitter-sweet I’ll grant you, but sweet. So many characters in this book were in devastating emotional pain for one reason or another and it was really touching the way they all managed to heal one another with nothing more than their mere presence and natural selves. Even old curmudgeons like Harry thawed a little bit before the end. Old hurts were forgiven and fresh ones avoided by new understanding.
The use of Gaelic, though occasionally distracting if not immediately translated, paired with the incredibly evocative description of the landscape gave the book a lot of atmosphere. The occasional Highland ghost didn’t seem out of place at all. Nor did the portent of change the animals tended to represent. It all contributed to the rich tapestry of superstitions and culture that was Arron island life. (And gawd do I ever want to visit now.)
The writing in very descriptive and really quite poignant. I didn’t so much read this book as feel it. I laughed, I teared up, I held my breath and eventually heaved a sigh of relief. The actual ending was a little too sappy for me, but the general ending I loved. I will definitely be seeking out more of Ms. Fox’s writing.