Catherine of Deepdale by Millie Vigor
I met Millie, a truly inspirational woman, at a writing conference a few weeks ago. Her story was so incredible (began writing in her 70s, 3 book deal at age 84, now 87) I wanted to read one of her novels, and picked this one. It's based on a real person, though whether that real person is Millie herself or not I don't know. I'll ask her if or when I meet her again.
Catherine is a young bride in 1946, and goes with her husband Robbie to his family home - a croft in the Shetland islands. She had no idea how hard life can be on a croft, and when his mother doesn't hold back in showing her contempt for Catherine, she almost gives up and goes back south. But she decides to stay and battle it out. Tragedy strikes when Robbie drowns in a fishing accident, and shortly after Catherine finds she is pregnant. But she stays anyway, and builds up the croft the way Robbie had dreamt of. She's a feisty, strong heroine who came alive for me and who I really admired.
Overall the book is well written and really evokes the Shetland isles and all their weather. Sorry, Weather - it needs a capital letter. I've not been there though I have been to far north Scotland. It's a cosy read - one you need to curl up with by the fireside. Satisfying ending, if a little predictable. I very much enjoyed reading it.