What can take the fire out of a fever, the ache out of loving, and the meanness out of a miser? The answer according to Tearlaich is whisky - the ‘water of life’. And when he suggests to Lillian that the islanders should have their own blend - a ‘Bruach Blend’ - Lillian can see his logic. Add to this concoction of island life the regulars; Erchy, Hamish, and Morag, as well as Harry the hedgehog, pets, and pests - and cows in love - and you have a diverse and pleasurable glimpse of the way the islanders manage on the island of Bruach.
©1978 Lillian Beckwith (P)2010 AudioGO Ltd
If you have never read or heard any of Lillian Beckwith's stories, do yourself a favour and buy this book! Many of Beckwith's tales are based on her real-life experiences when she moved from London to the Scottish Hebrides. Suffering from ill-health, she was advised by doctors to go where the air was fresh and the life-style simple. Instead of heading to the English country-side, Beckwith moved lock, stock and barrell to the Hebridean Isles where she became so entranced with the people and the crofting life that she stayed for some 20 years.
Bruach Blend is just one book in a series by Beckwith which details her comical struggles to become a crofter and to fit in with the Hebridean people. Her book is filled with much humour and some quite touching tales of the harsh existence of the proud people of the Islands. There are many colourful characters who have a unique way of expressing themselves and of dealing with the challenges of daily life. The Bruach-ites are always the first to laugh at themselves, making their stories incredibly endearing. Beckwith is such skilled writer. She is able to capture the people, their stories and the landscape in such detail and yet, the details never gets in the way of the flow of the story. Her books are very easy and enjoyable to read or listen to.
Hannah Gordon is a wonderful choice of narrator, coping well with the snatches of Gaelic dialect and various accents. She skillfully conveys the dry humour of the Island's inhabitants and draws you, as the listener, right into the story.
My only regret is that there are not more of Lillian Beckwith's wonderful Hebridean stories available on Audible. I'd buy every one!
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