Release Date: 4th July 2013
Edition: UK paperback, review copy
Other Titles by this Author: Blue Moon, Baby Blue, Hunter’s Heart, Breathing Underwater, Drawing with Light, Bringing the Summer
Kate’s relationship with her boyfriend ended badly – very badly. And now her parents are taking her on holiday with them to a cottage on a remote island in the Hebrides. Kate can’t imagine anything more boring. But Kate is also scared. Her parents have been fighting and she knows that this holiday is make or break. Once at the cottage, Kate escapes as soon as she cane – outside, anywhere. And there she meets the warmth of the islanders, who are prepared to accept her and listen to her. And possible fall in love with her...
This Northern Sky is a stunningly beautiful portrayal of loss, change and the power of a place. I loved it.
One of Julia Green’s biggest strengths is her unfailing ability to capture the emotions of her heroines with honesty and precision. I knew exactly how Kate was feeling at every point throughout the novel: her anger, fear, sadness, jealousy and disappointment over her parents, Finn and Sam. Everything was there and it rounded Kate out so thoroughly that I wouldn’t have been surprised if I took a trip to the Hebrides and bumped into her on the beach.
The contrast with the Manse family made Green’s portrayal of Kate and her parents’ struggles even more poignant. There’s such a sense of warmth and contentment between the Finn, Piers, Jamie, Joy and Alex. There’s so much life surrounding them that pulls you in. There’s nothing more inviting and welcoming that a house and family that you feel you could be a part of. It was so sharply different to the sharp, fractured remnants of Kate’s family.
I was completely captured by the Hebrides. I want to go there so, so much. There’s something irresistibly wild, fresh and nature about the island full of rocks, grass and ocean. Life there seems simple and pure, but requiring hard-work that would be satisfying. I also love the sense of community and togetherness on the island; the way that everyone banded together in a time of need is something that just wouldn’t happen where I live. To top it off, Green’s description of the scenery where breathtaking, especially a particular night spent on the beach. It’s just stunning.
This Northern Sky was refreshing for its main subject as well as its setting. The romance wasn’t the forefront, but the changing dynamics of her family. Kate’s feelings about her parents’ impending split were spot on and I fervently wanted them to sort things out and be happy again. As the novel progressed and the true level of troubles in her parents’ relationship was revealed, This Northern Sky started to hit a nerve. (Backstory: my parents split when I was four and dad cheated on my mum. He’s been fairly disappointing and cowardly about it ever since). Even though Kate’s dad was in the wrong and technically putting the nail in the coffin, I think he was brave and honest about it. I admired his strength about it in a way. He didn’t disguise his plans or let Kate’s mum tell Kate what was happening and instead talked to her himself and reassured her that although things would change, it would all be okay. It was handled in the right way, the responsible way and I thoroughly respected them for it.
All in all, I adored This Northern Sky. The setting is gloriously vivid, the characters well-rounded and the emotions spot on; perfect.
Thanks to Bloomsbury for providing me with a review copy.