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Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse in Scotland's Western Isles | [Mary J. MacLeod]

Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse in Scotland's Western Isles

Tired of the pace and noise of life near London and longing for a better place to raise their young children, Mary J. MacLeod and her husband, George, encountered their dream while vacationing on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides. Enthralled by its windswept beauty, they soon were the proud and startled owners of a near-derelict croft house - a farmer’s stone cottage - on “a small acre” of land. Mary assumed duties as the island’s district nurse.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Mary J. MacLeod's line of work allows her a uniquely intimate window into the lives of the insular rural community she left London for in the 1970s. Gwen Hughes' conversational tone suits MacLeod's frank style and closes the gap to allow each listener to feel as though the nurse is personally sharing her stories on a house call.

The anecdotes in Call the Nurse range from tragedy to humor but are always handled with the love MacLeod clearly feels toward the island's residents, their foibles, old-fashioned way of life, and the mythically beautiful landscape that left her enchanted.

Publisher's Summary

Recalling the classic works by James Herriot and the new British hit Call the Midwife, a nurse’s heartwarming adventures with her family while practicing in rural Scotland.

Tired of the pace and noise of life near London and longing for a better place to raise their young children, Mary J. MacLeod and her husband, George, encountered their dream while vacationing on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides. Enthralled by its windswept beauty, they soon were the proud and startled owners of a near-derelict croft house - a farmer’s stone cottage - on “a small acre” of land. Mary assumed duties as the island’s district nurse. Call the Nurse is her account of the enchanted years she and her family spent there, coming to know its folk as both patients and friends.

In anecdotes that are by turns funny, sad, moving, and tragic, she recalls them all, the crofters and their laird, the boatmen and tradesmen, young lovers and forbidding churchmen. Against the old-fashioned island culture and the grandeur of mountain and sea unfold indelible stories: a young woman carried through snow for airlift to the hospital; a rescue by boat; the marriage of a gentle giant and the island beauty; a ghostly encounter; the shocking discovery of a woman in chains; the flames of a heather fire at night; an unexploded bomb from World War II; and the joyful, tipsy celebration of a ceilidh. Gaelic fortitude meets a nurse’s compassion in these wonderful true stories from rural Scotland.

©2012, 2013 Mary J. MacLeod. Foreword c. 2013 by Lady Claire Macdonald (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Sara 09-10-14
    Sara 09-10-14

    Love audio books & reading reviews

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A 1970's Visiting Nurse on Rural Scottish Island"

    This is a fun, engaging, and often poignant story of a family that moves to a remote Scottish island, renovates a croft and sets out to live a much simpler life. The stories center on quirky island folk and old traditions. This hardy nurse sees it all. Rising to every occasion with tremendous aplomb.

    However, the narration was an issue for me. The accents were off and varied with a great deal of inconsistency. What was worse was the slow speaking mode the narrator used. I remedied the problem by, for the first time ever, increasing my play back speed. I found that 1.25 speed was perfect and made the reader sound almost normal. I did not want to give up on the story-- so this was a quick fix that made the book tolerable.

    Narration aside it was a good story and worth the effort. If you enjoyed Call the Midwife, the Irish country Doctor series or even the James Herriot books you might enjoy this visit to the Outer Hebrides.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 12-26-14
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 12-26-14 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Encapsulates Hebridean life"

    I have always been interested in the Outer Hebrides Islands so when I saw this book I grabbed it. “Call The Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle” by Mary J. MacLeod tells a tale of an English family going to live on a remote Hebrides Island. MacLeod gave the island a fictional name to protect the privacy of the Island and its people. She called the island Papavray.

    The author states her husband’s grandfather was born and raised on the island but left as a young man to find work. They decided to return to the island to live in 1969 after her two older children had left home and only the two teenage boys were left to care for. She worked as a nurse and her husband found contract work as an electrician and electronics technician.

    The author’s description of the island, their way of life and medical problems is a reminder of a vanishing way of life. She describes the land and seascape in vivid and glowing terms. The description of the wild rugged island is super. The island being far north, her description of the Northern lights was magnificent. I loved her tales of island lore. Gaelic is the native language but the people also spoken English; therefore she used a lot of old Scottish words as they were used on the island. Thank goodness Kindle has a dictionary build it; I used it frequently while reading the book.

    The book is well written. Macleod has kept the chapters short and fast moving. She has done an excellent job capturing the nuances of island life. On the Nursing side she traced many stories across the seasons of a year, from births to deaths, survival and tragedy. The author also provides us with some humor in the story. I am left with a feeling of wanting to go visit the Inner and Outer Hebrides for a different type of vacation. It is a wonderful memoir to read. I used whispersync with this e-book on the Kindle app for my iPad.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy JEFFERSON, WI, United States 07-01-14
    Nancy JEFFERSON, WI, United States 07-01-14 Member Since 2010

    Former Waitress, Chargeback clerk, Clown, Florist owner, Clergy. Love series, humor, twists, history, mysteries, not into witches/bondage.

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    "Funny and thought provoking"
    What made the experience of listening to Call the Nurse the most enjoyable?

    The author used many different types of experiences, some were just about living in an isolated community. Not all were happily ever after stories, but all were interesting and some very funny. I also liked the descriptions of the islands and towns.


    What about Gwen Hughes’s performance did you like?

    I did like her voices. I thought the accents were good, but since I have never been there I might be wrong. Occasionally, I did not care for how she ended some sentences.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a fun read. The story and descriptions make the islands and the residents come alive.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geraldine Gray 12-02-14

    letmein

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    "Wonderful story, dreadful narration"
    How could the performance have been better?

    It is dreadful - the narrator does not know how to pronounce many of the place names or even "setee"! Horrid - it should be an English accent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fay Londonderry, NH, United States 11-19-14
    Fay Londonderry, NH, United States 11-19-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Nice story ruined by terrible narrator."
    Would you try another book from Mary J. MacLeod and/or Gwen Hughes?

    I would listen to another book by Mary J MacLeod - however, I would never listen again to anything narrated by Gwen Hughes. (sorry, Ms. Hughes)


    What other book might you compare Call the Nurse to and why?

    It's has a bit of the feel of the James Herriot "All Creatures" series.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Gwen Hughes’s performances?

    No.


    Was Call the Nurse worth the listening time?

    It's a tough call. I made it through - but barely.


    Any additional comments?

    The dialect, pronunciation, and accents were horrendous. I had read previous reviews and thought "How bad can it be?" The accents and character voices were inconsistent and I was shocked that the narrator made no effort to find correct Gaelic pronunciation, making some of the words and phrases un-decipherable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AlexMcG 10-02-14
    AlexMcG 10-02-14 Member Since 2011
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    "No no Narrator!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Can't continue listening to this narration. Will purchase kindle edition. The narrator butchers the beautiful accents of the Hebrides and all of the British accents in general. I've been there. This is so bad it detracts from the story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Call the Nurse?

    The story draws you in. The narrator pushes you out!


    Would you be willing to try another one of Gwen Hughes’s performances?

    Only if set in North America.


    Do you think Call the Nurse needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Will let you know. After I read it on Kindle.


    Any additional comments?

    Should have been done by a British narrator.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi Minneapolis, MN, United States 06-03-14
    Heidi Minneapolis, MN, United States 06-03-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Please get a British narrator"
    What disappointed you about Call the Nurse?

    Part of the beauty of listening to stories that take place in the British Isles is hearing the different accents and dialects of the people telling the stories. That is completely lost with the American narrator of this audiobook.


    What didn’t you like about Gwen Hughes’s performance?

    Her attempts at English and Scottish accents don't succeed and distract from the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Wish I hadn't bought this audiobook.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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