“This situation I am in here, in Scotland, pretending to be my best friend in a not-at-all-shitty hotel is already precarious. But it’s containable as long as I work hard, keep everyone sweet and make it to the end of the summer. What I cannot afford is to have a crush. Rein it in, Birdy!”
Birdy Finch has no job, no purpose and is flat broke. Perhaps the one good thing going for her is Heather – her best friend of twenty five years. Heather is one of the brightest young wine experts in the country and has been offered a summer job at a luxury-dining boutique property in Scotland. But she has decided to whisk off to Italy instead, with her boyfriend, to decide if he is the one. That leaves Birdy with no place to stay and the responsibility to call and cancel the job on Heather’s behalf.
Yet, somehow, Birdy finds herself taking Heather’s place at the hotel. The trouble is, Birdy knows nothing about wine pairings or being a sommelier nor has she told Heather of this change in plans. Now, Birdy is faking at a job which should be a cakewalk for someone with Heather’s credentials and is falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked who thinks Birdy is someone else.
How far will be too far for Birdy before all hell breaks loose?
This book had been popping up all over my Instagram feed over the last few months as the hottest debut this summer and I was thrilled to be approved for it on NetGalley.
Despite the big lie she is living, Birdy is a fun character to read. The situation she finds herself in and the decisions she makes are comical to say the least. It would be a miracle if she can pull this off and she is trying. As hard as she can. This place is nothing like Heather described and Birdy is determined to make this work. Not just for herself but because she is hiding behind her best friend’s name which means it is Heather’s stellar reputation on the line. This secret she is carrying is a ticking bomb just waiting to go off.
What makes Birdy’s story interesting is her flawed family history – her father’s alcoholism and her turbulent connection with her mother. As a result, she finds herself constantly struggling in dead-end relationships and not recognising toxic people around her. This narrative adds gravitas to her character and explains her outlook on life.
The staff at Loch Dorn estate’s swanky Michelin two-star hotel is a delightful lot who often find themselves in bizarre situations. Birdy is instantly attracted to James, the hot chef. Roxy, the sommelier in training, is a godsend whom Birdy puts to good use. Then there are Anis, another young chef; Bill who has problems of his own to deal with; Russell, the arrogant executive chef; and Irene, the one in command. And somewhere in Loch Dorn lurks a deep, dark mystery which adds the zing to this novel.
This is the second novel set in the Hebrides that I’ve read in the last month and I am getting travel pangs once again. The Scottish setting is picturesquely described and includes many rainy walks and foraging for grown-in-the-wild and local produce.
When you don’t have everything figured out and feel like you’re lagging behind in the grand scheme of things, this is the pick-me-up you need. A flirty summer read with good food, gorgeous views and vintage wines, this is definitely one madcap adventure you wouldn’t want to miss.
The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent. Due to be published on 15th April 2021 by Viking Books UK, an imprint of Penguin UK. This ARC courtesy of Netgalley and Viking Books UK.
Book 14 of 2021.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟1/2.
Available on Amazon*.
About Photo: The hotel where Birdy works as a pretend wine expert has lobster delivered fresh every day, which means it is always on the menu and in need of new and intelligent wine pairings.
This lobster is made with quilling using 5mm quilling strips that have been crimped before coiling.
About the Author: Lizzy Dent (mis)spent her early twenties working in Scotland in hospitality. After years travelling the world making Music TV for MTV and Channel 4, and creating digital content for Cartoon Network, the BBC and ITV, she wrote three Young Adult novels as Rebecca Denton, published in the UK. This is her debut adult novel.
She lives between London, Austria, and New Zealand with her young family.
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