". . . I got the impression that they could imagine only two reasons why a woman should choose to settle down in Bruach: either that she was running away from the police, or escaping from a lurid past."
Neither reason applies to Lillian Beckwith, in this memoir of her convalescence on an isolated Hebridean island where "even the sheeps on the hills is lonely". On Bruach island, she observes, muses at and joins the native crofters in their unique rhythm of life; where friends fistfight in the evening and discuss bruises the next morning; where the taxi-driver is also the lorry driver, coal merchant and undertaker; where the locals don't remove their hats during a funeral so their heads won't get cold; and where the post-office's 'opening hours' fit around the daily milking of cows and not the other way round!
In a series of vividly drawn sketches, taking in birth, death, marriage and the seasons of life, Lillian Beckwith's writing is shot through with warm, cozy affection and droll wit.
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Lilian Comber wrote fiction and non-fiction for both adults and children under the pseudonym Lillian Beckwith. She is best known for her series of comic novels based on her time living on a croft in the Scottish Hebrides.
Beckwith was born in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in 1916, where her father ran a grocery shop. The shop provided the background for her memoir About My Father's Business, a child's eye view of a 1920s family. She moved to the Isle of Skye with her husband in 1942, and began writing fiction after moving to the Isle of Man with her family twenty years later. She also completed a cookery book, Secrets from a Crofter's Kitchen (Arrow, 1976).
Since her death, Beckwith's novel A Shine of Rainbows has been made into a film starring Aidan Quinn and Connie Nielsen, which in 2009 won 'Best Feature' awards at the Heartland and Chicago Children's Film Festivals.
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