She’s gone and done it again. This is another gorgeous story from the pen of Jo Thomas.

Not only is it a gorgeous story but this time she’s chosen to write about somewhere that happens to be one of my very favourite settings: a remote Scottish island. Ruby is a singer and is just about to perform for a very important A&R person when her voice gives up on her. Intending to go to Tenerife to try and make it better, she actually ends up going to Winter Island to deal with the care for the grandfather she has never known. When she gets there she meets Lachlan but she can’t work out what he’s actually doing at her grandfather’s home.

Thomas has a winning formula for her books. She combines a beautiful and interesting setting with a particular item of food or drink and then adds a love story. It’s her own personal recipe for success and it works every single time. In this book, the combination of the island’s beauty is mixed with a lost recipe for a very special gin. Ruby thinks she can’t wait to get her voice back and get home to her boyfriend, Joe, and the band she performs with but spending a few weeks on Winter Island makes her realise that maybe she had her priorities wrong and she starts to reconsider what it actually is that she wants.

I’ve never been let down by anything Jo Thomas has written. She has a quality to her writing that I find quite beguiling. Very early on in this book a description of the island brought a lump to my throat and a little tear was shed towards the end. Her books are easy reads and yet they offer the reader such an enriching experience. As is always the case, I immediately want to go to this Scottish island, to watch the sea and see the seals’ heads bobbing around, to visit the big hoose and meet all the characters, to taste the gin and to hear Ruby sing. If I could dive right into the pages then I would. Alas I cannot, but I had the next best thing which was to immerse myself in the wonderful storytelling of Jo Thomas.

I highly recommend Coming Home to Winter Island for a bit of escapism. It’s feel-good travel/food fiction at its best. I’m already excited for where this author will take me next. Can’t wait!

Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes, 5/4

Coming Home to Winter Island by Jo Thomas
Headline Review 9781472246028 pbk Dec 2019