You, Me & the Sea by Elizabeth Haynes is set on an isolated Scottish island which is a bird sanctuary. The island accommodates trips of bird watchers and Rachel has been employed to act as a temporary cook and maid to the visitors as the person engaged for the role has had to delay their arrival. The permanent warden for the island is Fraser who is taciturn and grumpy. You know from the start that Rachel is running away from circumstances and you realise very soon that Fraser has his own secrets.
Rachel has to get used to cooking and cleaning for groups of bird watchers who appear to me mostly anti-social. She also has to settle into living in a lighthouse and sharing accommodation with Fraser and the mysterious Lefty who is an unofficial resident of the island.
This is a book about how the landscape and the isolation together with the growing relationship between two wounded people helps them both deal with their pasts and also start to think of a positive future. It is also a slow burring love story. This is not a fast paced story as it contains a lot of description and also because you can’t deal with huge issues quickly or without setbacks. It is also a book full of emotions – all the characters are moody, quick to anger and prone to walking off to brood alone.
I thought that the book was a bit slow even allowing for the need for things to happen in their own time. I did like the description and the way that the landscape and the isolation is used in the story. The author is careful not to suggest that the characters fall instantly in love and that all their problems are solved by just talking them through with another person but even allowing for this the book ends satisfactorily.
I have previously read a few of this author’s books but they have been crime novels. This is definitely a romance or, at least, a book of contemporary fiction. The change in genres didn’t worry me and I think that the author writes a good story.