Author: Karen Swan
Series: The Wild Isle #2
Published by: Pan Macmillan on May 2, 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 10/10
A reluctant bride. A forbidden romance. An island full of secrets . . .
It’s the summer of 1929 and Mhairi MacKinnon is in need of a husband. As the eldest girl among nine children, her father has made it clear he can’t support her past the coming winter. On the small, Scottish island of St Kilda, her options are limited. But the MacKinnons’ neighbour, Donald, has a business acquaintance on distant Harris also in need of a spouse. A plan is hatched for Donald to chaperone Mhairi and make the introduction on his final crossing of the year, before the autumn seas close them off to the outside world.
Mhairi returns as an engaged woman who has lost her heart – but not to her fiancé. In love with the wrong man yet knowing he can never be hers, she awaits the spring with growing dread, for the onset of calm waters will see her sent from home to become a stranger’s wife.
When word comes that St Kilda is to be evacuated, the lovers are granted a few months’ reprieve, enjoying a summer of stolen hours together. Only, those last days on St Kilda will also bring trauma and heartache for Mhairi and her friends, Effie and Flora. And when a dead body is later found on the abandoned isle, all three have reason enough to find themselves under the shadow of suspicion . . .
Absorbing, passionate, and thrilling!
The Stolen Hours is a compelling tale that sweeps you away to 1929 and into the life of Mhairi MacKinnon, one of Effie’s best friends and another one of the thirty-six inhabitants of the small island of St. Kilda, who, on her brief travels to Harris to meet the man she will likely become engaged to, realizes the one she truly loves but who is already sworn to another has always been living right beside her, and when the government decides to evacuate the island villagers and move them permanently to the mainland, time is running out, her new married life is about to begin, and with a heart shattered to pieces and the life she always wanted merely now but a dream she may also have more than one reason to want the de facto ruler of the island, Frank Mathieson, dead.
The writing is expressive and rich. The characters are hardworking, fierce, and loyal. And the plot is an enchanting tale of life, loss, family, friendship, community, drama, mystery, intrigue, responsibilities, expectations, heartbreak, and forbidden love.
Overall, The Stolen Hours is another mysterious, captivating, highly immersive tale by Swan that kept me engaged from start to finish with its rugged depictions of island living and layered, complex, romantic entanglements and even though it’s only the second book in The Wild Isle trilogy, I can already tell this is definitely going to be one of my favourite historical fiction series of all time.
This book is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to PGC Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.