Book Review: The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford

The Lost Lights of St Kilda
by Elisabeth Gifford

Publication date: March 5th 2020
Publisher: Corvus
Pages: 288


When Fred Lawson takes a summer job on St Kilda in 1927, little does he realise that he has joined the last community to ever live on that desolate, isolated island. Only three years later, St Kilda will be evacuated, the islanders near-dead from starvation. But for Fred, that summer is the bedrock of his whole life…

Chrissie Gillies is just nineteen when the researchers come to St Kilda. Hired as their cook, she can’t believe they would ever notice her, sophisticated and educated as they are. But she soon develops a cautious friendship with Fred, a friendship that cannot be allowed to develop into anything more…

Years later, to help deal with his hellish existence in a German prisoner of war camp, Fred tells the tale of the island and the woman he loved, but left behind. And Fred starts to wonder, where is Chrissie now? And does she ever think of him too?

Source: Goodreads


“The Lost Lights of St Kilda” is a sad, moving love story set between two times and locations: the remote Scottish island, St Kilda, in the 1920s, and France during World War Two.

Fred and Chrissie met in 1927 and instantly fell in love. Years later Fred is an escaped prisoner of war in occupied France with only his memories of Chrissie and the island he fell in love with so many years ago.

I’m really sorry to say that didn’t really get along with the story and I really struggled to get into it. I’m not sure if it’s because I wasn’t in the mood for this type of book or if I went in with different expectations, but I found the story to be very slow moving and not to my tastes. It was difficult for me to connect with the characters too.

That said, I did really enjoy some of the more descriptive passages. It’s clear that Elisabeth Gifford is a very talented author and this is beautifully written and poetic at points. The cover is beautiful too.

I’m sad not to get on with this book and think I’ll give it another try down at some point down the line. I may try some of the author’s other work as well as I think it was only the story I couldn’t connect with here rather than the writing.

Overall rating: “The Lost Lights of St Kilda” is a tale of love, hope and culture that I’m sad to say that wasn’t really my cup of tea. This is a beautifully written book and I’m sure it is one that will be adored by many, but for me it was slow moving and that took away from my overall enjoyment. I’m rating this one 2 stars.

Thank you to Readers First for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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