The summer seaside kitchen by Jenny Colgan

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Little, Brown, 2017. ISBN 9780751564808
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Romance. Scotland. Environment. This is the first book that I have read by Jenny Colgan, a Sunday Times top ten bestselling author, and I found it immensely enjoyable. Flora is living in London, trying to cope with her job and city living and crushing on her boss, Joel. When she is asked to go back to Mure, the isolated Scottish island where she grew up and where people refuse to forget her past, she is uncertain but knows that she can't refuse. Her firm's rich client wants to stop a wind farm spoiling his view and her boss thinks that she can influence what happens on the island with her insider knowledge of people and their motivations.
Arriving back home, Flora has much to contend with - her father seems to have grown smaller and more introverted and her three brothers aren't very happy. Soon she finds herself immersed in family life and the discovery of her mother's recipe books leads to a love of cooking and also the opening of a little shop on the harbour.
Although essentially a romance, Colgan keeps the reader guessing about who Flora will end up with and the background of the island's politics and personalities play an important part in Flora's realisation of where she wants her future to lead.
The wonderful setting of a quiet Scottish island adds interest as its inhabitants struggle to keep their young people on the island and try to ensure that the millionaire building a resort actually employs some of the islanders.
This is a feel good book, peopled with relatable characters and events. Its warmth and uplifting plot made it very readable. I will certainly follow this author in the future when I want to enjoy a good escapist romance.
Pat Pledger