Delighted to be on the blog tour today to share my book review of The Island House by Mary Considine. A fascinating travel memoir full of smugglers tales, childhood memories and the real-life struggles of living on a remote island.
Where are we Touring today?
The Island House takes us to the tiny island of St Georges, also known as Looe Island and Nature Reserve in Cornwall, UK. Known for its long heritage and tales of smuggling, the island can be accessed by foot at low tide.
Book Cover Notes
Mary and Patrick’s dream was to live in London, have 2.4 children, the nice house, the successful jobs. But life had other plans, and in one traumatic year that all came crashing down.
Bruised and battered, Mary finds herself pulled towards Cornwall and dreams of St George’s Island, where she spent halcyon childhood summers. So, when an opportunity arises to become tenants if they renovate the old Island House, they grab it with both hands.
Life on the island is hard, especially in winter, the sea and weather, unforgiving. But the rugged natural beauty, the friendly ghosts of previous inhabitants, and the beautiful isolation of island life bring hope and purpose, as they discover a resilience they never knew they had.
It has been empty now for six years, and it is full of ghosts. Every wall is patterned with black mould, in lacy fronds or lumpy stripes; every window in the house is broken.
We pile bedding, blankets, coats on to the bed and the cats climb in with us, mourning their lost comforts. We listen to the wails of wind and the menace of waves through the broken glass and breathe in the spores and the damp, clinging together, our family, in the faint warmth of the bed.
We are entirely happy.
Share Your Own Adventures
I love to travel but like many, I sometimes dream of selling up and moving somewhere quiet by the sea (with a stack of books obviously). For one couple, the pull of the sea and memories of a childhood holiday location, is too much and they decide to sell up and give it a go. The author takes us on an enchanting journey through her childhood memories of growing up holidaying with her family on St George’s Island (Looe Island) in Cornwall.
Summer holidays as a child, exploring a remote island and having adventures, sounds pretty amazing. As a child camping and ‘roughing it’ a bit with basic sleeping, eating and bathroom facilities is all part of the fun. But does it still feel that way when you’re all grown up?
I really enjoyed reading this book, the author shares an honest and personal account of her life dreams and heartbreaks. Throughout the ups and downs, the one consistent in her life is the love and pull of the little island in Cornwall. I loved reading about the simple pleasures and remote life the author experienced as a child on the island.
Surrounded by wildlife, nature and the sea, The Island House has a rich and interesting past, with many fascinating, and hardy, owners. It was riveting reading about Attie and Bab’s, the sisters who last owned the island, as well as the many visitors and volunteers who helped them live and survive in such a remote place.
When The Wildlife Trust took ownership of the island, the author was staggered when her application was approved to move onto the island and renovate The Island House. A massive project, which the author shares in gripping detail. They soon realise what an immense challenge they have undertaken. In order to renovate and save Attie and Bab’s Island House, they have a lot of problems to solve, including:
1. How do they transfer seriously heavy building materials across to a tiny island, off onto a little jetty and up the hill?
2. Who on earth will agree to work and help them renovate in such a remote and often freezing cold place?
Soon the dream becomes a real-life adventure with daily battles against the tides, the weather, the wildlife and the ghosts of the past island guardians. Would they have approved of the renovations to The Island House?
Warning: This book will make you want to book a holiday to Cornwall. I now want to visit Looe and take a boat trip around St George’s Island. But maybe I’ll go in the summer months, winter sounds brutal and only for the hardy, not soft townies like me. 🙂
A delightful read for fans of travel memoirs and dreams of getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Where To Buy
Further book info
- Publication date: 9 June 2022
- Publisher: Monoray
- Page count: 256
About The Author
Growing up in the flat landscape of Bedfordshire, Mary Considine fell in love with Cornwall and the sea on her first visit as a small child. Distracted by the badlands of London, she spent the 90s writing and directing plays on the London and Edinburgh Fringe, and scriptwriting. Work included Angels, Time Out Critics Choice; The Other Half, commissioned by the Carlton TV screenwriting initiative; and a short film The Hand Job, shortlisted for the Lloyds Bank/Channel 4 short film competition. The noughties were spent teaching drama in secondary schools in the hills of North Yorkshire and, in pursuit of her now husband, back in London, before realising her impossible dream of moving to St George’s Island in 2010.
She now lives in North Devon with her husband, Patrick, and seven horses.
Blog Tour Organised by
Random Things Tours
Many thanks to Anne @randomttours for inviting me on the book blog tour to share my book review of The Island House. Thanks also to the authors and publisher for my copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.