‘The hottest new debut of 2021’? Yes, I think The Summer Job might be just that. It’s romantic fiction at its very best.

Elizabeth Finch, known as Birdy to….well everyone, is a chaotic character, drifting from dead-end job to dead-end boyfriend and back round again. Her best friend, Heather, has her life rather more together but when Heather decides against going through with the job that she’s taken, Birdy ends up taking her place which seems like a great idea as she needs somewhere to stay this summer. Shame she didn’t bother to tell Heather.

I couldn’t help but like Birdy even though I know she would drive me mad if she was my friend. She does go on quite a journey of discovery over the summer and learns a lot about the effect her past is having on her present and her possible future. She rocks up at Loch Dorn, what she expects to be a run-down hotel in the highlands, only to find it’s had a makeover and is much more sophisticated than she thinks she can be. I absolutely adored the setting. The Scottish Highlands and Islands are some of my very favourite places to read about and Lizzy Dent portrays the stark beauty of the landscape perfectly.

I smiled a lot whilst reading The Summer Job as Birdy is very funny, but I also hoped that she could get through the summer without too many problems. She meets Jamie, the chef at Loch Dorn, and there’s a distinct frisson between them but how can she embark on a fling or maybe a relationship knowing she’s lying to him about who she really is?

Well, to find out if it does all work out for Birdy you’ll have to read it for yourself. I can tell you that if you do you will have a wonderful time careering along next to Birdy as she tries to dig herself out of numerous holes, you’ll root for her as you get an inkling of what she could achieve, and you’ll enjoy a trip around some of the most picturesque and beautifully described scenery around. Buckle up, you’re in for quite the ride with Birdy!

Reviewed by Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes

Published by Viking (15 April 2021)
Hardcover, ISBN 978-0241470909