Tag Archives: Outer Hebrides

Book Review of the Month ~ Secrets of the Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

Today I am reviving my monthly book review, but this time I will post it on my blog before adding it to my rolling reviews on my Book of the Month Page.

Why did I choose this book?

I was drawn to Secrets of the Sea because:

  • I have visited Harris, Lewis and Uist and was drawn to the landscape; wild and rugged in contrast to the great expanse of machair, with wild flowers almost hidden by flowing grasses, a reflection of the sea and long sandy beaches.
  • I enjoy historical fiction and yet …
  • I also love reading novels in parallel time scales. I love the way they are woven to overlap and yet they are two stories in one, bringing history into the present day.
  • I have been inspired by local folklore in Scotland and Selkies intrigue me!

Did you feel empathy with any particular character?

Oh yes. Ruth’s struggles to shed her past memories. Memories are a bit like witness statements ~ it’s surprising how inaccurate they can be, especially those from childhood, and yet Ruth has resilience and a good man watching out for her.

Is there a lasting thought or memory of the book which remains with you?

Oh yes. I want to know more about the research and history behind the theory of where Selkies come from and I yearn to visit the islands again, especially Harris, North Uist and Benbecula, which we visited only briefly. I need more time to explore and absorb the essence of those places.

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Scotland

I’m excited to share with you a Scottish Poet ~ Pauline Prior – Pitt

Having just returned from a memorable trip to the Outer Hebrides ~ the island of Barra via Oban, then on to South Uist and back from Lochboisdale to Mallaig ~ I am excited to share with you Pauline Prior – Pitt.

South Uist

I bought ‘be an angel’ in the new Kildonan Centre. This is an interesting and thoughtfully displayed museum, where you could while away a morning reading the detailed boards alongside displays of artifacts and memorabilia. There’s a coffee shop for fresh lunches, soup, cakes, scones or just tea or coffee and also a local arts and crafts shop, where I bought ‘be an angel’.

I leafed through a couple of poems in the shop and was struck immediately by the notions ‘Pauline knows me personally! How did she know that? She has an amazing ability to describe, word for word, what goes on in my home, my relationships and in the depths of my mind in such a succinct but powerful way. There are some surprises however and twists at the end. Pauline seems to grip the heart of every conceivable human emotion ~ especially women’s.

I cannot quote a poem in case of infringing copyright but some of the titles may give you a taste of Pauline Prior-Pitt’s humour, as well as her understanding of humanity:

Leaving South Uist

be an angel, amnesia, sisterhood, together, crumbs, company of women, just, and when, a woman’s prayer …

‘be an angel’ is a collection of Pauline Prior Pitt’s poems inspired by the lives of women. Click on the link to go through to the publishers, Longstone Books. It does not appear to be available on Amazon.

If you love poetry, but also wish to have a flavour of life in the Outer Hebrides, (Pauline was born in North Uist) then I highly recommend this book.

Maureen Lipman says:

‘Everyone needs a Pauline Prior-Pitt in their lives and on their bookshelves.’

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Scotland, Scottish authors