Island Wife by Judy Fairbairns

Someone recommended this book to me recently having just read it, and knowing that I want to pursue publishing and would find this inspiring.

I did.

Judy tells the story of how she married and moved to the Hebrides at the age of 19 having been swept off her feet by Alex, 10 years her senior. They built a life together and had 5 children, kept various animals and ran a huge farm house and business whilst constantly trying to make ends meet.

Island Wife was so enjoyable, and not just because I too live on an island, although being able to identify with much of the ups and downs of that added to the enjoyment .  Judy was also frank about the many difficulties she faced.  The struggles in her marriage, and feeling like the glue that held the rest of the family together; whilst also finding it incredibly difficult to cope with all the demands on her. She is open, and honest, funny and incredibly moving.  Her observation on women and the sacrifices made for the children and family, at times moved me to tears. There was also a very touching chapter on the difficulties she found with her eldest son and  not being able to fully ‘reach’ him.  (I once told my son that I found him very difficult to read and he simply replied ‘that’s because I’m not a book…fair point!)

The book is well written and whilst Judy openly talks about her struggles in some of her interfamily relationships, she is not unkind about them.  Just realistic and fair.

It isn’t a neat and tidy, obvious happy ending; but I love that because that’s life. I regularly drove my former book group pals demented because I always loved a book that didn’t have a tidy finish.  That to me is far more realistic, (but maybe that’s because I’m a cynical, weather beaten old crow 😉 )

I was absolutely delighted to read Pete Urpath’s name in the acknowledgements at the end too.  Someone who I’ve also met and has connected me to people who can help steer me through the writing and hopefully publishing process. It’s a small world!



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