They live five hundred miles apart. Yet their lives are about to collide…
Lissa loves her job as a nurse, but recently she’s been doing a better job of looking after other people than looking after herself. After a traumatic incident at work leaves her feeling overwhelmed, she agrees to swap lives with someone in a quiet village in Scotland.
Cormac is restless. Just out of the army, he’s desperately in need of distraction, and there’s precious little of it in Kirrinfief. Maybe three months in London is just what he needs.
As Lissa and Cormac warm to their new lives, emailing back and forth about anything and everything, finally things seem to be falling into place. But each of them feel there’s still a piece missing.
What – or who – could it be?
And what if it’s currently five hundred miles away?
First huge thanks to Stephanie at Sphere for sending me a finished hardback copy of this book. I received it back in May and here we are in September and where has that time gone?
Anyway this book was one of my 20 Books of Summer and truthfully it was a delightful late summer read and nicely unlifting for these challenging times.
As the blurb suggests, Lissa accepts a secondment into a comparable nursing post in a small village in Scotland, on the shores of Loch Ness. Struggling with life the move is suggested by HR and Lissa feels forced to agree. Cormac is up for a change so happily heads down south to London. For both it is a culture shock, London is not what Cormac expects and he is surprised to find himself feeling alone whilst surrounded by so many people. For Lissa the village community feels intrusive, everyone seems to know her next move before even she does and unwittingly she appears stuck up.
Forced to keep in touch as part of their ongoing case work, Cormac and Lissa form a friendship, empathising with each others situations and supporting each other as they navigate their new landscapes. The community nursing roles allows for a cast of quirky characters in the form of patients and colleagues which only served to add to the story which I enjoyed a lot and found to be entertaining, tender and heartwarming.
I liked the references to previous characters, anyone who had read The Bookshop on the Shore would recognize the book van, Nina and Zoe and it always pleases me when authors subtly link their books in this way. Plus there was a hedgehog and who doesn’t love a hedgehog?
A book of healing journeys, the power of change and the importance of human contact, with 2 central characters as nurses, this book seamlessly highlights the work of the NHS, with a particularly sad but moving storyline at it’s core. It seemed timely and as I said previously essentially a book that you finish with a smile and a smidgen of hope as the author shows Lissa surviving a tough period and coming out better, stronger and happier.
Recommended for anyone who enjoys fiction in the Contemporary / Romantic genre. This book reminded me a bit of The Switch by Beth Lewis, with similar themes Five Hundred Miles From You would definitely appeal to fans of that book
About the Author
Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels including Christmas at the Cupcake Café and Little Beach Street Bakery, which are published by Sphere. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café won the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance 2012 and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013