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Summary

1927: when Fred Lawson takes a summer job on St Kilda, little does he realise that he has joined the last community to ever live on that beautiful, isolated island. Only three years later, St Kilda will be evacuated, the islanders near dead from starvation. But for Fred, that summer - and the island woman, Chrissie, whom he falls in love with - becomes the very thing that sustains him in the years ahead. 

1940: Fred has been captured behind enemy lines in France and finds himself in a prisoner-of-war camp. Beaten and exhausted, his thoughts return to the island of his youth and the woman he loved and lost. When Fred makes his daring escape, prompting a desperate journey across occupied territory, he is sustained by one thought only: finding his way back to her. 

The Lost Lights of St Kilda is a sweeping love story that crosses oceans and decades. It is a moving and deeply vivid portrait of two lovers, a desolate island and the extraordinary power of hope in the face of darkness.

©2020 Elisabeth Gifford (P)2020 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Desperately romantic, lyrically written and with a fascinating plot.” (Katie Fforde)

What listeners say about The Lost Lights of St Kilda

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Nurse Williamina Barclay

This book was full of every kind of emotion. I have read many books about St kilda but this is the only one that gives an understanding of the life of the St Kilda people through Chrisies eyes.
My great Aunt was Nurse Barclay and it was very moving to understand what hardship she put herself through to help the island people. I met Aunt Williamina many times and saw the toughness in her eyes despite having a privileged up bringing in Denniston, Glasgow. This story is such a good read , the contrast between St Kilda and the ravages of war couldn’t be more stark. Lies , betrayal and love. But in the end love is stronger than anything . Wonderful read.

2 people found this helpful

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Historical Fiction at its best!

As a Scot, it can be difficult to read books where you know the history and the author does not follow. Elisabeth Gifford does not do this, she has woven her story beautifully around history and kept the facts. I adored this book. The audiobook was made more special because the narrators were Scots so there were no pretend accents, which always sound mocking. Having read and enjoyed Secrets of the Sea House, I chose this book. More please!

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An enjoyable read

I bought the book because of the St Kilda connection and then found the war story centred around St Valery, very personal to me as my father was a Seaforth Highlander in the 51st Highland Division taken prisoner at St Valery.
I enjoyed the story, and the narration. The only slight criticism would be the continual reference to Gaelic, being pronounced Gay-lic (which is Irish) rather than Gah-lic, which is Scottish. A small detail but correct pronunciation of words and place names is important and gives authenticity.
I would certainly read others by this author on the strength of this one.

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A lost community brought to life

Loved this his-story. Imaginatively bringing together people, memories and a place loved, and left to nature.

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very good

Loved it - kept forgetting to do my work I got so engrossed in the story. Simple though it is, it's well told, and well researched.

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I didn’t expect to cry

The story is beautifully told, so descriptive you could be there on St Kilda, history woven in.

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A jumbled up story

This storyline was all over the place Enjoyed the chapters about Scotland found the remoteness interesting the rest frankly was a load of tosh Ridiculous story and lo and behold "happy ever after" at the end Extremely dire

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Scotland the Brave

A beautifully written book celebrating the hardships and sacrifices made by the inhabitants of St Kilda. That story is skilfully interwoven with the terrible losses and struggles of Scottish servicemen in WW11. Love,it seems, conquers all.

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Fascinating insight into what St Kilda was like

I really enjoyed this and have since visited Hiort and boreray. I am glad I read this book first it brought the place to life . A very sad story though

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Narration of Chrissie atrocious

The narrator of the Chrissie character should listen to her style and know that single words are not sentences even with a Scottish accent. Almost put me off finishing the book! (even when I played Chrissie at x2 speed) but did put me off the audio version. I did finish the book without the audio version and enjoyed the story.