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Island Wife

On sale

15th August 2013

Price: £9.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781444759600

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Dream of living on a remote Scottish island? ISLAND WIFE tells one woman’s true life story from 19-year-old bride to mother of five, running a family hotel a recording studio and a whale watching business. By turns unflinching, moving and very funny, this is a memoir of a 40 year marriage and a woman’s extraordinary life.

‘A hugely entertaining story of family travails and triumphs’ KIRSTY WARK
‘A sensitive, brave and honest look at a life lived in the wake of others’ needs’ DAILY MAIL

Judy, at 19, met her future husband, who whisked her off into an adventure, a marriage of over forty years, and a life on a remote Hebridean island. Along the way she bears five children, learns how to run a rocky hill farm, a hotel, a recording studio and the first whale watching business in the UK – all the while inventively making fraying ends meet. When her children start to leave home, things fall apart and there is sadness and joy in how she puts things back together.

Funny and tender, this is a book of endless horizons and a breath of fresh air. It is also the story of a creative woman coming out from under and finding her true self.


Kirsty Wark
An unflinching and hugely entertaining story of family travails and triumphs.
The Daily Mail
A sensitive, brave and honest look at a life lived in the wake of others' needs.
BBC Countrylife Magazine
This is exceptional. It is beautifully written with important things to say about how we value life, our relationships and our surroundings.
Sainsbury's Magazine
First there was the romance: moving to a tiny Hebridean island with wild orchids, wilder seas and the man she loves. Judy Fairbairns dutifully looks after livestock in bleak winters, raises five children and behaves just how the world and her husband thinks she should. But then her own storm kicks in and blasts open a door to a whole new life.
The Daily Express
This true story is one of stoicism, adventure and family in the face of adversities that threaten to wreck her dreams.
Herald Scotland
This is a frequently beautiful autobiography that may well become a lifebelt for the thousands of women who find themselves drowning in the confusing storms that so often attend being a mother, wife and hard-working professional.
Woman & Home
Good Book Guide
In this delightfully warm, frank memoir, Judy Fairbairns describes the ups and downs of life on a Scottish island estate. Full of humour and wisdom, this is also Judy's own story, and a touching and uplifting one at that. Her vibrancy - obvious at even the most testing of times - is evident on every page.
Candis Magazine
A book to warm the cockles of your heart - you'll not find a better tribute to mothers the world over.
A moving account of a most unique life.
Elisabeth Luard, food-writer, journalist, and broadcaster
Brave, funny, poignant, beautifully written - in Island Wife, Judy Fairbairns tells a tale of cosseted girl who abandons all for love of a man who offers a life in which nothing is certain and everything changes. A story of triumph and disaster, joy and despair, the loneliness of motherhood and the companionship of children. But above all it's a story of the struggle to make the dream come true in a crazy tumbledown mansion in a wild corner of the most beautiful of the silvery sisters of the Hebrides, with a husband who was not, in spite of it all, a mistake.
Mairi Hedderwick, author of the Katie Morag series
This book brings back such memories of neighbouring island years which were long ago the inspiration for the creation of Katie Morag. Judy Fairbairns captures the familiar pioneering passion of that time in the '60s and then takes us on the very personal subsequent journey ... Humour and honesty prevail throughout and always there is the poetic backdrop of the wild landscape of the island and the wild emotions that come and go with its tides.
Philip Gross, novelist and poet
Warm but never sentimental, Judy Fairbairns' writing treads a deft path through difficult times. It balances wry humour and lyrical delight, practical toughness and vulnerability in equal measure. Quite apart from the human lives contained and celebrated, the light sure touch of the writing is a joy to read.
Christopher Matthew, author and journalist
Island Wife is a breezy (in every sense), frequently funny and often dreadfully sad tale of a madcap adventure with an intrepid farmer husband and five children on a romantic Hebridean island, which often turns out to be not quite as romantic as the wide-eyed author had imagined.
Julie Mitchell-Galloway, Artistic Director, Edinburgh Dance Academy
Judy has written a wonderful collection of tales full of humour, hardship, humanity and wisdom set in a rich seasonal landscape of a remote Scottish island. A vivid portrait is painted of the land and characters and her affinity to nature is most endearing. It is a heart warming and honest story of love and companionship. Good for the soul.
Mike Rutherford, founding member of Genesis
The day-to-day details of a family who has followed the man's ambitions to a remote island are hilarious and very touching. A beautifully told story.