The Bruach books of Lillian Beckwith
Lillian Beckwith wrote a series of books about the life and often humorous adventures of an English incomer to the fictious Skye village of Bruach, set loosely in the 1950s & 1960s. The books are written in a first person biographical style (i.e. the name of the main character is the same as the pseudonym of the author), but are fiction.
The author was herself English and lived in Elgol, on the Island of Soay, and in Lower Breakish. She is not universally well remembered by local residents since some feel that they appear in the books. The other view is that more often than not the main character is the real butt of most of the humour. Read (or listen) to them yourselves, and feel free to draw your own conclusions.
In addition to the humorous first person pseudo-biographical books, Lillian also wrote some light sentimental fiction such as The Spuddy. I can't personally recommend these, but my mother-in-law enjoys them - as we say up here: A h-uile fear gu blàs fhèin - Each to their own taste.
Recently I found and read another book by Lillian, Green Hand. This is the tale of a Welshman who came to the West Coast and Islands as a visitor but who discovered a hidden love for the fishing (& a local lassie) and stayed on taking to a life on the fishing boats. The language is a little more robust than in the Bruach books, but the novel is full of the same type of delightful insights and humorous anecdotes.
Amazon usually have some of the audio books and may have modern paperback editions. For hardbacks and older editions try eBay. I particularly like the covers on the older editions - paintings which contain recognisable elements of the Skye landscape but in strange combinations, almost as if the artist was given a selection of postcard views and asked to come up with something along those lines!
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The Hills is Lonely
The first book in the Bruach series. Someone looking for a quiet place in which to convalesce after an illness takes up an offer of a place in a house on Skye...
Edition Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com Audio Book 1994 (Hannah Gordon) No Yes
The Sea for Breakfast
Second in the Bruach series. Lillian gets a house of her own, right by the shore.
Edition Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com Audio Book 1996 (Hannah Gordon) No Yes
The Loud Halo
More Bruach based goings-on in this third book. Discover what a Loud-Halo is.
Edition Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com Audio Book 1997 (Hannah Gordon) No Yes
A Rope - in Case
A sound piece of Hebridean advice - "take a rope - in case..."
Edition Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com Audio Book 1998 (Hannah Gordon) No Yes Out of Print Paperback (but maybe worth a try) No Yes
You might also come across these other Bruach based books, though they appear to be out of print. The links given are for Amazon.com.
- Bruach Blend
- Lightly poached or in a Large Print edition.
- Beautiful just! or possibly this alternative reference.
If you find that any of these titles, or paperback versions of the others, are available for sale, perhaps you could drop me a line using the Feedback page.