Wanted: doctor for small island. Must like boats, the seaside and having no hope of keeping a secret...
Lorna lives on the tiny Scottish island of Mure, a peaceful place where everyone helps their neighbour. But the local GP is retiring, and nobody wants his job. Mure is too small and too remote.
Far away, in a crowded camp, Saif is treating a little boy with a badly-cut hand. Saif is a refugee, but he's also a doctor: exactly what Mure needs.
Saif is welcome in Mure, but can he forget his past? Over one summer, Saif will find a place to call home, and Lorna's life will change forever.
Jenny Colgan's A Very Distant Short is part of the 2017 Quick Reads series which gets big name authors to write short books that are specifically designed to be easy to read so that anyone, no matter their reading level, can pick up the books to read.
Set on the remote Scottish Island of Mure, the story features headteacher Lorna, who feels like she has been left behind from her friends who have either left the island or have settled down with a family, and refugee Saif who is desperately searching for his family who he has been separated from. Their paths cross when Saif is offered the opportunity to relocate to Mure to take over the reins at the local doctor's surgery.
It's fair to say that Saif is like a duck out of water when he first sets foot on the shore as his living conditions and daily routine couldn't be more different from what he is used to, so how will he adapt to life on Mure and will he be welcomed with open arms by the islanders?
As for Lorna it's clear that she's struggling to keep on top of not only running the local school where the numbers are dwindling due to the younger families moving to the mainland, but also worrying about the welfare of her elderly father who is living alone on the family farm.
I always struggle writing reviews for short stories and novellas without going into too much detail and providing spoilers but what I can say is that this was more of a heart-wrenching read than I was expecting. It's testament to the skill of Jenny Colgan as a writer that she's able to create so much emotion into so few pages.
As well as Lorna and Saif we're introduced to some of the other islanders including Lorna's friend Flora, who is the central character in Jenny Colgan's fuller length novel The Summer Seaside Kitchen which is published next week. I'm hoping that we'll catch up with Lorna, Saif and the rest of the locals in the new book but you don't have to wait until next week to start reading as Chapter One is available to read at the back of this book.
I'd like to thank Ashton at FmCM Associates for sending me a copy of A Very Distant Shore to review,.