Women's fiction/ Romance.
Isla our heroine is unceremoniously sacked from her prestigious designer hair salon after the machinations of a caniving and jealous protégé engineers a calamitous accident. Completely at a loss ,she is powerless to argue against the interim plan her father suggests which is to provid cover at her Aunt's provincial salon on an island off the Edinburgh coast.
Here she begrudgingly falls in love with the insolent girls at the salon and the varied inhabitants of the place, most notably elderly Patron Ruth and her gently rogueish grandson Flynn. Who is also feeling somewhat adrift as his bachelor days with his pals are melting away as his closest friends are about to become parents. These two souls begin to gravitate towards each other. Will Isla's insistence that this is just an eight week stint hold out until those two months are up or will events take another more romantic course?
Well I think we all know the answer, but as with any journey, the path taken is the key, be it the dull straight carriageway or the meandering flower strewn and picturesque lanes, and here we most definitely take the scenic route. From the pretty Austen cover to the bittersweet last act, we know this will warm our hearts.
This was a beautifully crafted romance, the setting beguiling enough to be the obvious place to be the Oasis away from Isla's real life that is so plainly the real sanctuary her soul craves . The Bay is a place to learn about letting go of the past, searching for what completes you, rather than seeking to meet the assumed expectations of others which are invariably not there in the first place.
Here she learns the value of acceptance of oneself, the joy of letting go and seeking fulfilment and all the while falling gently and believably in love with an equally discombobulated man whose own restraints are also so rigidly self imposed.
Finn is a likeable hero and Isla is well rounded and faceted, the other island inhabitants are lovely embellishments to the tale and the introduction of the completely loony Lily and her horrendous hyperactive son was a stroke of genius.
The wonderfully, warm frothy story was topped to perfection with a Anne of Green Gables reference here and there and the use of wooden Phallic "totems" as a plot device was just deliciously wickedly funny.
My usual gripe of a rushed ending again rears it's head above the surf, but I suspect that length requirements rather than any deliberate intention to shoe horn in the neat endings, is the culprit here and that is the fault of Panmacmillan rather than Ms Lucas herself .
As it stands the story left me with a beaming smile and who can ask more than that really?