ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Love, on the Rocks by Elsie McArthur

My review today is of the gorgeous Love, on the Rocks by Elsie McArthur. My thanks to the author for my review copy of the book.

Escaping a difficult childhood, unhappy marriage and dead-end job, Rachel McIntyre has escaped to the tiny Hebridean island of Inniscreag in search of a new beginning.

Taking a job as the manager of the local distillery, she’s just settling into her new life when the elderly, eccentric owner dies, unexpectedly leaving her two hundred year old family legacy in Rachel’s inexperienced hands.

Can she keep the small, community business alive in the face of a takeover attempt from a major multinational corporation? And can she resist the charms of the flirtatious, attractive company lawyer who arrives on the island to persuade her to sell up?

Join Rachel and the quirky inhabitants of Inniscreag – along with a couple of unexpected arrivals – in this funny, heartwarming tale about love, loss and having the courage to start over.

I absolutely loved Elsie McArthur’s debut novel, The Back Up Plan. If that fact hadn’t already got me excited about her second book, Love, on the Rocks, the fact it’s set on a small Scottish island would have made it a must-read for me.

Rachel McIntyre has left behind her old life in Glasgow to take up a new job managing the distillery on the island of Inniscreag in the Hebrides. She hasn’t been there long when the owner dies and very unexpectedly leaves the distillery to Rachel. She soon has to deal with a company trying to swoop in and take it from her, a surprise challenge to her inheritance, and man problems. Phew!

I loved everything about this book. First of all, the setting. I’m always drawn to anything island related, especially if it’s a Scottish island. Inniscreag is a fictional island but it’s located pretty close to Skye and it’s an absolute delight. It has everything I love reading about island life: the sense of community, the beautiful scenery, the serenity, the wildlife. It’s portrayed beautifully by the author.

McArthur writes an excellent romance and when Rachel meets Duncan, the lawyer working for the company trying to get their hands on the business, sparks fly in more ways than one. There’s such warmth in the writing (and a touch of steaminess made me feel a bit warm too!) and I found myself smiling many times as I watched their relationship grow (albeit with a few ups and downs).

Then there’s the story itself, of Rachel beginning a new life for herself, of learning more about what she wants and doesn’t want, making changes at the distillery, and just generally settling into island life. It’s a charming read, gentle with the odd fiery moment. I thought the execution of the story was so nicely done, providing plausible twists and tying things up perfectly.

Love, on the Rocks is a joy to read from start to finish. Inniscreag really came to life for me and I found myself wishing I could visit it. Just lovely.

*The whisky in the photo is from the Talisker distillery on Skye.

Elsie McArthur was born and brought up in Glasgow, a city she still holds dear to her heart. After meeting her now-husband, they moved North to the land of whisky and shortbread, and now live in the rural wilds of Speyside in the Scottish Highlands, along with their two children, a couple of badly behaved dogs and an exceptionally lazy cat.

Elsie has worked as a primary school teacher for over a decade now, and after years of jotting down stories she began writing more seriously during her first period of maternity leave.

‘The Back Up Plan’ is her first novel, and was released in December 2019. A follow up novella – ‘A Hogmanay Kiss’ – is now available to preorder, and will be published on 1st December 2020. Her second, ‘Love, on the Rocks’ – a tale of love, loss, and second chances set on the remote Scottish island of Inniscreag – came out on August 20th 2020.


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