The Island Swimmer

The perfect feel-good book for Mother’s Day

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Pub Date 15 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 29 Feb 2024

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'A must read. Loved it and a beautiful ending' ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader Review
'Written with compassion and empathy, a cuddle in a book' ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reader Review
'Wow! It is a very long time since I have enjoyed a book so much. This gripped me from the start' ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader Review


Escape with this feel-good and big-hearted debut novel from broadcaster Lorraine Kelly. If you love Maeve Binchy, you'll love The Island Swimmer.

Once the tide turns, you can't hold it back...

When Evie's father falls desperately ill, she finally returns to the family home on Orkney and the wild landscape she left as a teenager, swearing never to return. Not everyone is happy at her arrival, particularly her estranged sister Liv, their relationship broken after a childhood trauma.

As Evie clears out her father's neglected house to prepare it for sale, lonely Evie finds herself drawn to a group of cold-water swimmers led by her old friend Freya, who find calmness beneath the waves. Together they help Evie face up to the mistakes in her past, unlocking a treasure of truths that will reverberate through the community, and shake her family to its core.


'Gorgeous debut novel' Marian Keyes
'Warm and wise...a Scottish Maeve Binchy' Veronica Henry
'Like getting a warm hug on a freezing cold day' Jane Fallon
'So warm and engaging. A total treat' Beth O'Leary
'A compelling and complex story written with wit, compassion and warmth. An exciting debut from one of Britain's most beloved personalities. Lorraine Kelly does not disappoint! I devoured it' SANTA MONTEFIORE

'A must read. Loved it and a beautiful ending' ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader Review
'Written with compassion and empathy, a cuddle in a book' ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Reader Review
'Wow! It is a very long time since I have enjoyed a...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781398714458
PRICE £20.00 (GBP)

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Average rating from 23 members

Featured Reviews

Wow what a fantastic debut from Lorraine Kelly.
This book centres on the lives a woman’s life totally built on a web of lies. Evie’s father dies and she has to go home to Orkney which opens up old wounds. How can she stay when there are people ready to tell her deepest secret and how will her friends react when they find out.
Greatly written with compassion and empathy a bit cuddle in a book
Well done

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Wow! It is a very long time since I have enjoyed a book so much. This gripped me from the start, wanting to know the answers to the mysteries of Evie, her family and friends. The setting is sublime - such a wonderful sense of community and you quickly care very much for all the main characters. This was such an absorbing story - i couldn’t wait to find a gap in my day to continue reading, but also had that sense of dread it was going to end. Now what do I do that I have finished it??!! I really look forward to more novels from Lorraine Kelly.

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Oh my. Parents and siblings can really mess your life up . This is a story you are thinking about when you are not reading it. I was gripped . Evie ran away from Orkney and it took her 20 years to come back. What a mess her life was . So many characters in the book were great. Freya was just one amazing person. You could not work out the secret . The story moved back and forward in time. A must must read. Loved it and a beautiful ending. Can not recommend it enough.

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Who knew Lorraine Kelly wasn't just a pretty face, she also a very good author.

Well done Lorraine this lovely good was a great read, I wanted to read more and more.
I would look for another one of your books after reading this.

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With a story that weaves across 3 timelines, Lorraine Kelly certainly didn’t set herself an easy task for her debut novel!

A greatly anticipated read that didn’t disappoint.

With thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to receive and review this ARC.

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This book has my heart . Such a heartwarming book and set in the beautiful island Orkney ,reading this gave me a real beautiful escapism from life in such a beautiful heartwarming way. I really did not want to this book to end .I really do hope Lorraine goes on to write further book as she is an amazing author who really gets the reader to capture the story and characters.I have recommended this to all of my friends.

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Honest opinion: Before I started this book I wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was an absolute delight, that I had to keep reading to find out what happened! The characters are well written (I loved Evie! and Freya!) and the story is so entrancing I had to keep going. The story is a dual timeline which whilst very cleverly written also makes each chapter a story of its own. The describing of the scenery is also wonderful, you could feel the wind in your face and the salt of the sea. The author isn't afraid to tackle hard hitting issues (depression) which was also refreshing to see. A fantastic debut that I thoroughly enjoyed and will be recommending to others.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher/author for accepting my request to read and review this book.

I must say, I picked this book up on a whim on NetGalley as I was drawn in by the stunning cover, and I love books set in small towns.

But this book ended up being way more than I expected and a far greater tale than what the cover suggests.

This book follows three timelines

1. Cara, a young women in a small coastal town as she falls in love with a local named Duncan, they marry and have kids - Liv and Evie. We then follow the girls growing up and the drama of Liv being a very difficult child.
2. Evie in the past, immediately following some kind of big event that has changed lives. We see her running away from all her family and friends for over a decade.
3. Evie current day, returning to the small town Orkney since her father has died. She is reconnecting with everyone whilst dealing with her awful sister Liv.

This book is part mystery, part drama, part romance, and I loved how the different timelines worked throughout the book to end up with the full picture by the end.

I loved getting to know an extended cast of characters, from Sophie to Finn, to Maureen and Freya etc. I found that the very optimistic ending helped to balance out with the darker and more depressing themes earlier in the book.

I did have a couple small gripes: namely that some of the dialogue seems very clinical and clunky and not like how people would talk, but I imagine that might be something that improves with a final copy of the book. I also felt like Liv’s character was exaggerated in her awfulness especially as a child.

But overall I thoroughly enjoyed this, a bit different for me but really worth reading.

This is a 4.5 rounded up to 5.

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An engaging story set on the Orkney Islands. I was hooked from the start.
The main character Evie suddenly leaves her home on the Island and doesn't return for twenty years. Receiving a letter from her friend Freya, (who is the only person who knows where Evie is) she travels back to Orkney but it is too late to make amends.
Evie has been afraid to return as she is harbouring a secret that only her sister knows. Evie and her sister Liv have never got on, and Liv has been blackmailing Evie all these years.
The author has created some really believable characters - Evie herself is lovely, Freya can be counted on to help anybody and everybody, and Sophia is the type of best friend that we'd all like to have.
The story is told through various timelines. There is mystery, what is the big secret? There is plenty of drama and there is romance.
An enjoyable read with gorgeous descriptions of the Orkney Islands.

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