Friday, August 21, 2020

Love, on the Rocks, by Elsie McArthur

Elsie McArthur, August 2020

Rachel McIntyre reached a turning point in her life. Her marriage was at an end; she had kicked her husband, Graham, out of the flat she'd inherited from her Grandma Peggy. Deciding she also wanted another change in her life, she joined LinkedIn, and very soon got an email from a distillery in the North Islands she'd never heard of. She took the chance.

Months later, she's living on tiny Inniscreag, running the business end of the distillery, and building friendships with the locals, including the distillery employees. Her boss, Edith McLeod, has also become a friend, though mostly by telephone. She's now in a care home, which is why she needed to hire a manager. Rachel has new ideas for improving the distillery's finances, and she's persuaded Edith to let her try one--opening a coffee shop and gift shop at the distillery, for those who take tours of the distillery, and other tourists who might be tempted to by making it a bit more of a destination.

Then Edith dies, Rachel learns she's Edith's heir, and Duncan Fraser, a lawyer for a big distillery company, turns up to persuade her to sell the distillery.
Rachel has no intention of selling, and that determination is reinforced by the fact that Edith had, without revealing she'd made Rachel her heir, had asked her to promise she would not let "them" get the distillery.

It's not just a business, but the heart of the community, and no amount of money could compensate for what loss of local control would do to Inniscreag.

Duncan, though, is handsome, charming, and determined. Rachel isn't interested in selling, but she can't entirely deny being interested in Duncan. When she makes her refusal to sell absolutely clear, he leaves--but it's not long before he's back.

This time with the lovely Stephanie McLeod, who it turns out, is the great-niece Edith McLeod never knew she had. Her grandfather was the illegitimate child of Edith's Uncle Malcolm. She claims she's the true heir, and Rachel tricked Edith.

What follows is conflict, confusion, and misunderstandings among residents, employees, neighbors, and friends. It's further enlivened when Rachel's ex-husband, Graham, turns up, having discovered her location due to press coverage of the fight over distillery. He's been fighting the divorce, and is sure he can claim a 50% share of the distillery as "marital property."

It's lively and confusing, emotional, and ultimately heartwarming. I love these characters and their little community.


I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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