Title: A Summer at Sea
Author: Katie Fforde
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK, Arrow
Date: February 11th, 2016
Source: from Publisher, for a review
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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?
I am sorry. Sorry for taking so long to read this book and sorry for taking it even longer for reviewing it.
The thing is, in the middle of my reading, I had to take a long break from this book because of one particular scene, the one decided to call – the placenta scene.
I’ll be 100% honest with you – if I didn’t read a review copy, I would DNF it and then donate it.
But, I had an eARC, I think it was only fair of me to read the whole book so I could write a decent review.
I’d be lying if I told you my expectations for this novel weren’t high.
Katie Fforde is a pretty popular author, this is her (if I’m not mistaking) 15th novel and she writes books in my favorite genre – women’s fiction.
Still, what I got from this story was not what I wanted.
The writing style was detailed, I even dare to say it was too detailed for my taste. It felt like the author wrote about certain, unnecessarily things and created some scenes just to make this novel longer, when in reality it could have been at least 70 pages shorter.
Yet, some things that would be interesting to read about weren’t in the story.
For example, when Emily comes to puffer, to work in the kitchen, we meet a young girl who’s name I forgot. She seems like an interesting character with some trouble in her life, but we never get the chance to know more about her.
For the matter of fact, we didn’t get any scenes from kitchen (and even if we did, they were so dull that I forgot about them).
Emily could have been working on any possible position, it wouldn’t make difference, because the only thing we got to read about is her hanging out with puffer owners, her love interest and his child (and one customer).
The story wasn’t interesting enough and I didn’t care about the characters, but the setting was good.
I had two main problems with this book:
- The writing style, as I said was too detailed for my taste, but one particular scene was just too much for me – Ladies and Getelments, I now present you, the PLACENTA SCENE.Let me warn you immediately, this is going to be spoilery for your own good.
Our main character is a midwife. That means, she’s helping women deliver their babies.
We all know that after a woman pushes baby out of her vagina, there has to be placenta somewhere, right?
And we have all seen movies with baby birth in them, but not one movie shows you a woman pushing her placenta out of her body. And there’s a good reason for that!
We know about placenta, but please, don’t ruin my reading experience with writing (in a very detailed way) about delivering placenta. Please, don’t do it!
We just read about beautiful baby coming to life, and then, it was all ruined with the placenta scene.
I will remember that scene for the rest of my life, probably, and that is NOT something I want to remember!
After that scene, I needed a 2-3 weeks break from this book.
- It felt like the author wanted to make us think what she though was right.
I understand that sometimes author’s beliefs blend on pages, but when (almost) every single character tells the same thing (that a woman will want to be a mother one day and it is better for her to work on her motherhood soon), is what I call „pushing readers to think what author thinks is right“ and I DON’T nor ever will approve that kind way of putting your message out there.
Overall, I know some people like this kind of writing style, but I am not one of those people, and I don’t think I’ll read this author again.