Publishing Date: 28th May 2020
Series: Scottish Bookshop #3
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: Women’s Fiction
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?
Lissa is a follow – up nurse living in London, spending her days driving from one patient to another to make sure they’re following the doctors’ orders, getting the treatment, doing well. One day she is a witness to a terrible hit and run where a 15 – years – old boy dies. She tries hard but she can’t shake off the horror and she’s simply not coping. The hospital’s HR team notices it and advises her strongly to participate in a professional exchange program – it means she’ll be sent to a rural area where her skills are also needed. A nurse from this area will come to London and take her place for the time being. Not absolutely convinced but also left without a choice, Lissa agrees and soon finds herself in Kirrinfief in the Scottish Highlands.
Cormac, an ex – army, is the nurse who swaps places with Lissa. He’s also not too convinced about the whole swap idea and is afraid of London, its noise, pollution and so many people. The two have never met but now they exchange patient notes and it looks like an unlikely friendship is forming between them, even if they’re a bit reluctant. And can it be that the WhatsApp professional banter turns into something more private and intimate?
„Five Hundred Miles from You“ is another, third, beautiful story in the Scottish Bookshop series, brilliantly researched, with a lovely, warm storyline and a bunch of fantastic characters, some of which we have already met in the previous novels. Yes, you could read this book as a stand – alone, absolutely, but as the other two are truly gorgeous reads you’d simply miss too much.
The characters are extraordinarily well developed and I loved them from the very beginning. Cormac maybe even more than Lissa but I also fell for her immediately. We get to know her so well as we are able to accompany her from the very beginning of the trauma, of her PTSD developing and it’s written in such a way that it’s very easy to sympathise with her. She doesn’t have it light, our Lissa, the author takes her our of her comfort zones, letting her either sink or swim – while it was sometimes heart – breaking to see her pain, it was also a real joy to see how she tries to come to terms with her new surroundings and people.
I loved Cormac from the start, he was so easy – going and had his heart in the right place. He’s still having flashbacks to his time in army when serving in Fallujah and to be honest I am truly thankfull to Jenny Colgan that she didn’t focus so much on his memories – it would be too hard for me.
What I love in Jenny Colgan’s books is the writing style. It’s exceptional, and sometimes just the one – word – sentences bring the whole essence, with just one word she can relay this what other would write about for two or more pages – and it’s brilliant. Not that I don’t like her descriptions, because they are beautiful and vivid, but here also, without using overdone words and flowery language she can so easily transport me to her fictional world – and I love it. She covers so many heavy issues with so much sensitivity but without making them feel overdone and too meh. This time she highlights the importance of the national health system, and I think it doesn’t only concern the UK but we can all shuffle it to our own better known grounds – simply to appreciate how important it is, how hard those people work and how much they sometimes have to sacrifice and they for sure don’t deserve racist comments or any other negative vibes. She also touches upon the importance of organ donors, and the last scene in the book had me in real tears. Her writing will tug at all your heart – strings, you simply can’t stay indifferent to her books and her characters. And I love her dry humour, it must be one of the best.
This book was – again – a real and pure escapism. It was, at the same time, heartbreaking and heart – warming and it really messed with my emotions – and there were many hard and emotional moments in this book and they were so realistic, with reality biting and hitting the unsuspecting people. It is a story about second chances and starting again, about love, hope, trust, sadness and happiness. Another gem from this author and I can’t wait fort he next offering. Highly recommended!