The Hills Is Lonely by Lillian Beckwith is the author's semi-autobiographical account of time living on an island in the Hebrides off the coast of Scotland. Ms. Beckwith's physician advises her after an illness to go away to the country for a long rest. She advertises seeking a place for her rest cure and eventually ends up standing with her bags on the wharf in the middle of a storm waiting for the ferry to carry her through the waves and rain to her new landlady's croft, a small farm.
Not an auspicious beginning.
Her prospective landlady, Morag McDugan, sent a letter in response to Ms. Beckwith's enquiry about the quietness of the place to still any qualms she might have: Surely it is that quiet here even the sheeps themselves on the hills is lonely...hence the title of the book.
I love a book like this. Full of odd characters, strange (to me) customs, and all taking place in a rural setting. Bruach, her fictional village, is not a place I would chose for a rest cure though. The housing is primitive and the farming life is hard. And there seems to be a lack of green vegetables although there are plenty of turnips.
But Ms. Beckwith, or Miss Peckwitt as she is known in the book, seems to fall into the rhythm of the days and nights. She attends the local church services, finds her way to a cattle auction, tries her hand at fishing, absorbs a spot of Gaelic, totes pails of coal, welcomes the village's first public telephone kiosk, and learns to love porridge. Some of her activites don't sound too restful.
There are seven books (my library has three) in this Hebridean series which gives me plenty of adventures to look forward to. I read that in real life it was the author and her husband who moved to the islands in 1942 (although the tales take place after WWII). She must have loved it there because she stayed for twenty years.
Eventually the books relate Ms. Beckwith's experiences as she ends up buying and running her own croft the stories of which I am sure will only add to my merriment.
Thanks to Joan for this recommendation! What a treat.