Review by Veronica

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Series Name: Scottish Bookshop Series #3

“She wanted to shout, wanted to tell everyone: This wasn’t the real her! She existed in the world! She was fun and carefree! The real her was cool! Not some traumatized wreck! Not, she realized, a patient. She looked after patients. The idea that she needed looking after… she couldn’t bear it.” 

Fans of Jenny Colgan’s Scottish Bookshop Series will not be disappointed with its next installment: 500 Miles from You

Lissa, a nurse, working in a tough neighbourhood in London, England, finds herself suffering from PTSD from witnessing an accident. She’s offered to be a part of an exchange program that allows her to work a less stressful job in a Scottish Highlands town. She would be trading places with Cormac, an army veteran who is a nurse, paramedic, and all-purpose medical man.

Lissa soon realizes that small-town life is not what she expected it to be and finds herself meeting some quirky but loveable town’s people. Cormac finds himself in a similar situation in London but forms an unlikely friendship with Lissa’s best friend, who helps him navigate the bustling city. As they bumble through their new lives, Lissa and Cormac constantly email and text one another; at first, their conversations focus on helping each other out with their patients. But soon, their interactions start becoming more personal, and a connection grows between these two. The question is, will they ever get to meet each other in person?

One of the things that I love about a Jenny Colgan book is that her characters are perfectly imperfect. Yes, the men are often ruggedly good-looking and have delicious accents that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But her characters are also human with problems, and often make mistakes. Lissa and Cormac are perfect examples of this: both are dealing with PTSD and make plenty of mistakes throughout the book, but those mistakes don’t make them unworthy of being loved. They just need to find that person that loves them -rough edges and all. 

The main romantic relationship is different from other romance novels that I have read because the two main characters only interact with each other over email or through texting. It works with the storyline, but I wasn’t a fan of this being the primary form of communication between Lissa and Cormac. I found myself missing the in-person interactions between the main love interests; you know, the smouldering looks they give each other from across the room, or those clumsy moments when the heroine spills coffee on the hero. I found myself craving those meet-cute interactions while reading this book.