Today Mandie is back in the hot seat with a review of Coming Home To Winter Island by Jo Thomas. Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting us to take part and to publisher, Headline, for providing the advance copy for review. Here is what it’s all about:
About the Book
Wrap up warm and explore the breath-taking beauty of a remote Scottish island and an old house waiting to unlock enchanting family secrets.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Google Play | Apple Books
Fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will love this irresistible new winter novel from Jo Thomas.
Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?
Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.
But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.
City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.
But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.
There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …
Coming Home to Winter Island is the first book I have read by Jo Thomas and I have to say that I found it to be a cracking and heart-warming read. Ruby is a struggling singer who is on the brink of signing a contract when she loses her voice. Told to take complete rest she books herself into a vocal retreat over Christmas. Things don’t go to plan however as just as she is about to set off, she gets a call summoning her to Winter Island to deal with some family issues regarding Hector, the grandfather she has never met.
Right from the start you feel how Ruby is struggling between doing what she thinks is best for a man who is clearly in the grips of dementia and getting on with the life she believes she needs. She is confronted with a house that is clearly lacking a lot of creature comforts and has seen better days, but worse than that for her, she has to deal with Lachlan – the sitting tenant who refuses to move out and could actually scupper and plans that she wants to make.
Ruby and Lachlan quite often butt heads on the best thing for Hector as he has promised to let him live out his days in his own home. I can understand Ruby’s reluctance for this as Hector has a tendency to wander off and often mistakes Ruby for his dead wife. Hector does have moments of lucidity, that bring some of the more touching moments of the book to life, especially at the end.
Over the book Ruby takes the time to re asses what she wants from her life, and that includes her relationship with her boyfriend/manager who quite frankly comes over as a controlling self-centred person, who really sees Ruby as his ticket to fame and fortune rather than a partner. It is really nice to see Ruby get to know her grandfather and learn about the family history.
Jo Thomas has created some believable characters that you can’t help but warm to, whilst dealing with the touching and heart-breaking realities of dementia. The setting of Winter Island sounds idyllic and I for one would sign up for the retreat that Lachlan was going to set up… if nothing else just to be able to get away from it all and enjoy the scenery. Fans of this author will absolutely love this book and I can honestly say that she has just added a new convert to her writing.
About the Author
Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.
Follow the tour: