ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Coming Home to Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn

Coming Home to Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn was published in 2021 by Simon & Schuster in paperback, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to Sara-Jade Virtue from Books & the City who sent me a copy as part of a year-long giveaway.

On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.

Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?


I’m a huge fan of all things islands, especially Scottish islands, so I was really looking forward to reading Coming Home to Brightwater Bay which is set on the Orkney Islands. After a shock break up with her boyfriend alongside dealing with a bad case of writer’s block, romantic novelist Merry Wilde applies to be the Orkney author in residence for six months hoping it will heal her broken heart and resuscitate her career.

I loved the description of the islands which sounded windswept and beautiful, and Merry’s little croft with its log fire. She meets some wonderful new friends including librarian Niall, and Viking Magnus, and the Watsons from a nearby farm and their unruly goat, Gordon! Niall takes Merry around all the local sights and the author really sold Orkney to me as I learned about the islands along with Merry.

I read this book on holiday and it was the perfect light holiday read, so easy to pick up and dive straight back into the story. I really enjoyed the journey that Merry went on from struggling writer to having a whole new future ahead of her. Coming Home to Brightwater Bay is a captivating feel-good read with delightful characters, a heart-warming storyline and an amazing setting with a cosy community feel to it. I found it so enjoyable and utterly charming.

Holly Hepburn has wanted to write books for as long she can remember but she was too scared to try. One day she decided to be brave and dipped a toe into the bubble bath of romantic fiction with her first novella, Cupidity, and she’s never looked back. She often tries to be funny to be funny, except for when faced with traffic wardens and border control staff. Her favourite things are making people smile and Aidan Turner.

She’s tried many jobs over the years, from barmaid to market researcher and she even had a brief flirtation with modelling. These days she is mostly found writing.

She lives near London with her grey tabby cat, Portia. They both have an unhealthy obsession with Marmite.

Holly is the author of seven novels including The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures, Coming Home to Brightwater Bay, and A Year at the Star and Sixpence. Follow her on Twitter at @HollyH_Author.

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