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Summer in the Scottish Highlands–finding what’s important

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Summer in the Scottish Highlands

by Donna Ashcroft

Paige Dougall was raised in the small Scottish town of Lockton, but left it behind when Carl, an event planner, swept her off her feet with his charming good looks. They eloped and moved to London where she also worked events and gave birth to an adorable daughter Grace. Unfortunately, Carl spread his charisma around London with little time for Paige whom he criticized constantly and no time at all for his daughter. Everything fell apart for Paige when she and Carl were in a car accident and he died. When Summer in the Scottish Highlands begins, Paige has spent the last year struggling to establish her career and make a home for Grace. Experiencing stress to succeed has made her work long hours, turn to pills, lose her appetite and cut drastically into time with her darling daughter.

John, a very successful chef who owned his own restaurant in New York, has moved to Lockton to escape his own high stress career. He is currently working as a chef at his twin brother Davey’s pub. John has certainly dropped his standards by serving basic pub food and canned soup. His brother encourages him to up his game saying, “I know you’re trying to keep your life stress-free, John, but there’s a difference between being relaxed and imitating the dead—I think you might have strayed too far in the wrong direction.”

Paige’s employer gives her time to destress while waiting for her house sale to go through. Paige and John establish a tentative relationship and work together to fix up the beloved Book Barn where she used to work. John is encouraged to cook again to get Davey’s pub listed in the yearly book Best Pubs. The two help and encourage each other in their respective projects drawing closer despite knowing Paige will be leaving.

John is drawn to little Grace who is nearly four years old almost as much as he is to her mother. He calls her “princess” and she calls him “prince.” Paige’s mum and da are delighted to have Paige and Grace in Lockton. Their relationship had been strained as they did not approve of Carl.

There are two minor but charming romances and an interesting group of women who welcome and support Paige as she realizes she actually had no friends in the “life” she thinks she has established in London. It’s not hard to predict the conclusion but the pleasure is in watching the relationships unfold and blossom. An added bonus is The Book Barn where Paige follows in her mentor’s footsteps with a gift for finding just the right book for each patron.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Notes: There is one passage with a little steam, but no graphic descriptions.

Publication: June 4, 2021—Bookouture

Memorable Lines:

Coming home—let’s just say it was the equivalent of taking a can opener to the emotions she worked so hard to contain.

There wasn’t a person alive who the librarian could’t find the perfect book for—she’d often said the right choice had the power to change someone’s life.

“I think it’s one of the things kids are so good at—living in the moment, understanding what’s important. Finding pleasure isn’t about being good or bad at something, it’s about taking time to experience it.”


  1. WendyW says:

    Lovely, this sounds so sweet. I like that both Paige and John are rebuilding their lives, and little Grace sounds adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cozynookbks says:

    This sounds like a great read. 😃 I chuckled at that canned soup. 😄
    The cover is very alluring.
    Excellent, thorough review, Linda. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful review! She’s so right about kids being so good at living in the moment. I’m watching Anne with an E on Netflix, and I want to be Anne of Green Gables. It’s lovely. She’s so good at living in the moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like a good one for me, thanks Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wait, what’s wrong with canned soup? 🤣 What’s not to like about this one, romance and food!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gretchen says:

    Sounds like a sweet read. Your third quote about finding pleasure isn’t about being good or bad at something made me stop and think. Definitely a mark of good writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m trying to catch up on reading some of the reviews I’ve missed out on, and I knew reading through yours was going to be dangerous! How many wonderful books am I going to be adding to my TBR pile over the coming days? But really, this one sounds so charming. And The Book Barn—now there’s a dream. Wonderful review, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Carla says:

    This sounds absolutely adorable, Linda. You know I can’t resist a romance with an adorable child in it. I love that both main characters are dealing with issues from stress in their previous careers, and find each other. I read Christmas in the Scottish Highlands during Christmas in July and although these books are standalones, I love the hope and uplifting themes, Donna Ashcroft writes so well. Wonderful review, Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. lghiggins says:

    I just checked and I have Christmas in the Scottish Highlands in my queue. I’m looking forward to reading it now.


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