A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde – review

Published by Arrow

Publication date 8 February 2017

Source – own copy

“Emily is happy with her life just as it is.

She has a career as a midwife that she loves . She enjoys living on her own as a single woman. But she’s also feels it’s time for a change and a spot of some sea air.

So when her best friend Rebecca asks whether she’d like to spend the summer cooking on a ‘puffer’ boat just off the Scottish coast, she jumps at the chance.

But she barely has time to get to grips with the galley before she finds herself with a lot on her plate.

Rebecca is heavily pregnant and is thrilled to have her friend on board doing most of the work. Then there’s Emily’s competitive and jealous kitchen assistant who thinks she should be head-cook, not Emily.

And there’s Alasdair, the handsome local doctor who Emily is desperately trying not to notice.

Because if she falls in love with him, as he appears to be falling for her, will she ever want her old life back again?”

Read more on the Penguin website.

Emily Bailey escapes her real life and heads up to Scotland to help on her friend’s puffer boat. The chance of running the galley seems to good to pass. All Emily hopes for is time to get away from the hassle of work. What she finds are new friends, old friends, beautiful scenery and possibly love. But holiday romances don’t last for ever – or do they?

I have read all of Katie Fforde’s other novels so I was looking forward to reading A Summer at Sea. I find her novels easy to read escapism and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. Sometimes we all need to escape from reality to a place where we don’t have to think and her novels have always provided me with a lovely escape route from time to time.

I loved the setting of the novel. The idea of spending the summer on boat in Scotland sounded wonderful, full of fresh air and a lovely rural community and knowing that Crinan is a real place just added to the appeal. There is the feeling of friendliness between both holiday makers, crew and residents that runs through the novel.

The characters all work well together. Emily is a little too self important times and working on the puffer boat seems to ironed these creases from her character. Becca and her family are lovely, working well together, softening Emily and provided moments of humour. Alasdair comes across as a nice but sometimes distant character, often I suppose reflecting how Emily would feels she should keep him, at that distance. There wasn’t however a character that didn’t fit in the story and all worked well together.

There were a couple of things that grated slightly. One was Emily’s almost militant stance on home births and that it seemed that all GPs were against them. In my limited experience this was not the case, with both midwives and GPs not seemingly at odds. Also there was the fact that most of the characters in the novel were trying to convince Emily she wanted children, that she shouldn’t leave it too late etc. This is perhaps more true to life – I still get asked if I’m having any more children and people often scoff when I say three’s enough. Whilst not major issues or enough to spoil the story, both of these parts of the story were mentioned enough to labour the point (pun definitely intended).

A Summer at Sea is a gently paced, warm, cosy novel that is lovely escapism for a few hours, be it on a wet June’s day or any time of year. It kept me entertained, didn’t challenge my world views and took me away from the current political strife for a few hours. And sometimes that’s all you need from a book.

About the author:

Katie Fforde lives in the beautiful Cotswold countryside with her family, and is a true country girl at heart. Each of her books explores a different profession or background and her research has helped her bring these to life. She’s been a porter in an auction house, tried her hand at pottery, refurbished furniture, delved behind the scenes of a dating website, and she’s even been on a Ray Mears survival course. She loves being a writer; to her there isn’t a more satisfying and pleasing thing to do. She particularly enjoys writing love stories. She believes falling in love is the best thing in the world, and she wants all her characters to experience it, and her readers to share their stories. To find out more about Katie Fforde step into her world at http://www.katiefforde.com, visit her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @KatieFforde.

This was book four of the #20BooksofSummer challenge.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Great review, Janet. When I started this one I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get on with it at all. It seemed a bit naff (I said that in my review) but then I just got right into it and ended up loving it. You’re right in saying her books are total escapism.


    1. janetemson says:

      I’m glad you liked it too, Nicola. We all need a bit of escapism sometimes 🙂


  2. Ahh 20 books of summer time again. Not sure if I should take part this year.
    This one sounds like a good choice for a summer read Janet. Must have a look at your list.

    Caryl x


    1. janetemson says:

      It is a quick easy read, which I think is just what is needed sometimes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. On definitely 😉


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