I was just over a third of the way through A Summer Of New Beginnings when I had to put it aside and start looking up sleeper trains and the North Coast 500.
One of the best things about this book is that Lisa Hobman’s love for Scotland, and the Highlands in particular, shines through her words.
It’s infectious – although I’m still not sold on riding 500 miles by bicycle.
To be honest, getting there from Norwich with a five-year-old without having to remortgage the house seems enough of a challenge.
Here’s the blurb:
Meet Zara Bailey, a travel writer paid to cover some of the globe’s most luxurious locations.
Jetting from wooden huts on stilts in turquoise seas to boutique hotels with roaring fires to 7* penthouse suites with panoramic views of the world’s most glamorous cities… Zara knows hers is the definition of a dream job!
So she is seriously shocked to receive her next assignment; Scotland’s Northcoast 500 route. By bicycle. Sleeping in a tent so basic it can’t remotely be dressed up glamping!
But this could be just the distraction the recently heartbroken, Zara needs. No men, no romance, just the breathtakingly rugged Highland scenery. Until she meets croft owner Lachlan Grant, and his black and white Border Collie Bess, that is…
This story has more ups and downs than Zara’s bike ride – and that’s saying something. For me, I think there was one too many.
The book really came alive when she arrived in Scotland. The words sparkled on the page like the water in the lochs she stood before.
I was really impatient to meet, Lachy, and a little frustrated it took so long to get to him – although I appreciate why.
Heartbreaker Josh went from someone quite nice to someone really, really nasty. I always got a sense that there was something not quite right in their relationship but it felt a bit too much of a change to me.
Some points of the story require you to suspend reality to a level that even I struggled with (no spoilers).
Having said that, it is a fun read and worth it alone for the descriptions of the Highlands and its people.
Also, be aware that the Proclaimers I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) will get stuck in your head, which isn’t a problem if you love the song as I do.
Price: £2.63 (via Amazon).
My rating: Three and a half stars.
With thanks to Aria (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.