Spotlight & Giveaway: AN ISLAND WEDDING by Jenny Colgan

Posted July 14th, 2022 by in Blog, Spotlight / 27 comments

Today, HJ is pleased to share with you Jenny Colgan’s new release: AN ISLAND WEDDING




New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan brings a delightful novel that will sweep you away this summer…

… to the remote Scottish island of Mure, where two very different weddings are about to take place…

On the little Scottish island of Mure—halfway between Scotland and Norway—Flora MacKenzie and her fiancé Joel are planning the smallest of “sweetheart weddings,” a high summer celebration surrounded only by those very dearest to them.

Not everyone on the island is happy about being excluded, though. The temperature rises even further when beautiful Olivia MacDonald—who left Mure ten years ago for bigger and brighter things—returns with a wedding planner in tow. Her fiancé has oodles of family money, and Olivia is determined to throw the biggest, most extravagant, most Instagrammable wedding possible. And she wants to do it at Flora’s hotel, the same weekend as Flora’s carefully planned micro-wedding.

As the summer solstice approaches, can Flora handle everyone else’s Happy Every Afters—and still get her own?


Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from AN ISLAND WEDDING 

From AN ISLAND WEDDING, by Jenny Colgan. Copyright © 2022 by Jenny Colgan. Publication on June 21, 2022 by Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Chapter One

It was the tail-end of March, and the Rock hotel on Mure was booked absolutely solid. The visitors had got lucky too: the end of the Atlantic storms had brought snow and ice well into the third month of the year, but for the last week the sun had shone bright every day.
As long as you had a decent coat and some stout shoes (the hotel would of course lend you some wellingtons), the island looked glorious: the sand on the Endless Beach was so pale it was practically white, the water lapping turquoise and clear, the sky huge and blue as a child’s painting. The little brightly painted houses lopsidedly leaning against each other in the harbor were jolly and gay, and the fishing boats were freshly painted and eager to take to the waves.
“It is absolutely. Sodding. Freezing,” said Flora, stepping out into the bright sunshine, going round to check the gar-dens around the back of the house, where the daffodils were in full bloom.
Her fiancé, Joel, on the other end of the phone, let out a barking laugh.
“It’s because you heat that hotel so much you’ve got soft.” Flora sighed. This was almost certainly true. In the MacKenzie farmhouse, where she’d grown up, the windows were single-paned and drafty and you had to hurtle to the damped- down peat kitchen fire every morning, your feet freezing on the icy stone, to stir it up again, then heat your chilled fingers around a warm, strong cup of tea.
The Rock, on the other hand, a huge old gray stone building, had been converted into a hotel by a rich Texan who couldn’t bear discomfort of any kind. The traditional-style windows were triple-glazed; a heat pump had been installed, giving out vast amounts of cheap energy; and every bathroom had underfloor heating. There were thick rugs and cozy blankets everywhere, as well as deep carpets in the library and sitting rooms. Colton, Flora’s brother Fintan’s late husband, had basically compared living at the very northern tip of the British Isles to living in a ski resort, and built accordingly. Except, as a newcomer to Scotland, he had gone for what he thought would be a design to blend in with the locals, and as a result there was tartan carpet of deep greens and blues and stags’ heads everywhere. At first, Flora had thought it was cheesy and ridiculous. Now, she rather loved it. It reminded her of Colton every time she strolled the long corridors or opened the door to the restaurant (then quickly shut it again, if Gaspard the temperamental chef was shouting at someone in the kitchen).
She found her way round to the side of the hotel that faced the water; there was a little dock there, and many people arrived by boat. The gardens by the wall hosted a sunny spot the wind could not reach, and they had benches for people to sit and watch the big boats go by in the distance, on their long journeys up and over to the fjords. In the direct sun, it was incredibly pleasant. She sat down for two seconds’ break from the endless demands of running a hotel and a café—nobody could see her from here, but it wasn’t hiding exactly—and she continued her conversation with Joel.
“How’s it going?”
Joel sighed in a way that indicated he didn’t think he’d be back soon. He administered Colton’s trust fund, which had contributed to the development of a global vaccination program. It had made him busier than they had ever thought possible, particularly after he’d moved to Mure for a quiet life.
“That well?” said Flora, glancing at her watch. It was six
a.m. where he was, in Mexico City.
“It is going well,” said Joel. “This is a problem. They think it might be down to me.”
“Because it is,” said Flora. Joel was the best and smartest man she’d ever met, in her opinion. The rest of the world catching up to this fact didn’t surprise her in the slightest.
Joel harrumphed. “I think several thousands of actual scientists might have something to say about that. Anyway. I am desperate to get home.”
Flora looked out at the sea. It was habit, scanning the horizon for whales. There was a pod due, she felt it in her bones, though the horizon was choppy but clear. Everyone on the island knew the MacKenzie women were descended from selkies, the seal people. It was clear as day in their pale hair and translucent eyes; creatures who came from the sea, who might one day return. Of course it was absolute nonsense, Flora would harrumph. Nonetheless, there was no denying she did have a connection with the wild creatures around the shores of the island. She did feel a kinship, particularly
with the whales. But surely every islander felt that way, she told herself.
“Come back before the whales come,” she said. “Then the whole of summer will be ahead of us.”
“Okay, my selkie girl,” said Joel, smiling to himself. He liked thinking of Flora as a sea spirit sometimes. Joel himself, although he had used to be a keen lap swimmer, did not like the deep seawater at all. He kept this from everyone but Flora, and was trying to get over it by joining the RNLI and becoming an ocean lifeguard.
“I’d better get back to it.”
“Be careful,” said Flora frowning. “Is it dangerous where you are?”
She could hear the smile in Joel’s voice.
“Everywhere is dangerous compared to Mure,” he said. “It’s not rational, what you think is dangerous.”
That was true. Ewan Clark, the local policeman, worked pretty much full-time on his farm and was only occasionally called to an altercation outside the Harbor’s Rest hotel late on market day, or to sort out some optimistic parking by tourists who didn’t quite understand that the strong discouragement to bring cars over on the ferry also applied to them. Children roamed free most of the year, and everyone knew everyone else, more or less.
“How’s Douglas? Walking yet?” “Stop pressuring Douglas!”
All the MacKenzies had been, apparently, “nine-month walkers,” and, now that Douglas was almost one, the pressure was on.
“No, I don’t want him to walk! I want to be there!”
“Oh well. In that case, he’s pretty much still all drool and snot.”
“Good, good,” said Joel, who as someone who had never known much parenting himself had nonetheless turned into the most devoted father imaginable. “Also, we need to talk about . . . Oh, it can wait.”
“What?” said Flora, sitting up straighter. Nothing good ever came from the phrase “we need to talk,” in her experience. “What do we have to talk about? What?”
“Oh, nothing, honestly; wait till I’m back.”
“That’s not for days! And now I will panic and think it’s something bad.”
“It’s nothing bad,” said Joel. “At least I don’t think so.” “What? Oh my God oh my God oh my God what?” “Nothing! Honestly!”
“When I’m home . . . Can we talk about the wedding?” “Our wedding?”
“No,” said Joel, “all those other weddings I take a deep and abiding interest in. Probably a Kardashian one.”

Flora headed into her office after the phone call, wondering what he meant exactly—presumably he didn’t mean “cancel” the wedding if he was making jokes about the Kardashians, but even so. He’d proposed at Christmas, and it had just been wonderful and gorgeous and there seemed no reason to delay having it this summer—but he had been rather cagey about discussing actual wedding details and the like. Flora would have been perfectly happy if he had said “do what you like,” given she had a hotel, a chef and a lot of good pastry at her
disposal, but he hadn’t said that either. And if they did want to do it this summer, they had better get moving . . .
She looked out at the north end of the Endless Beach. Tourists had taken up residence in wildly optimistic swimsuits and more realistic windbreakers. Every so often someone would dare go up and touch the water, pale blue as a Caribbean shore, lapping gently up to the perfect white sands—then jump back in absolute horror as they felt the temperature. Flora smiled. It didn’t really matter how hot the sun shone: it was still the North Atlantic. They had lots of so-called wild swimmers who turned up all winter with lots of expensive kit and huge dry robes talking about how wild swimming was amazing and had completely changed their lives and how fantastic it was, before running in and out for five minutes. On Mure, they just called it swimming.
The phone rang in the office the second she opened the door, and Flora looked out of the window as she picked it up. Oh, there they were—she thought she’d run into them on her way to the garden. Eck, her dad, and Hamish, one of her three brothers, were trying to persuade Douglas into a standing position. Agot, the daughter of Flora’s brother Innes, who had followed her in, looked out and sniffed dismissively. “That Baby is RUBBISH at walking. Tha e gòrach.” Agot was learning Gaelic at school and liked to mutter in it, particularly remarks too cheeky to say aloud.
Flora’s funny, serious-looking baby, the spit of his dad, was sitting in the grass, toggled up in the nine layers of knitted wool considered essential by Mure knitters, i.e., most of the population, and eyeing them suspiciously. It was a look Flora knew well from his father, and it said “whatever you think
you’re talking about, I’m going to do exactly what I think is right in my own good time.” It was what made Joel an excellent lawyer and an occasionally frustrating partner.
Still, they made a pretty sight, three generations of Mac- Kenzie boys—plus Bramble of course, who was looking for the muddiest patch of the flower beds to roll in, and avoiding the enthusiastic attentions of Bjårk Bjårkensson, the huge and rambunctious kitchen dog. They really shouldn’t have a kitchen dog, Flora thought, for the nine thousandth time, as she answered the phone.
“Hello? The Rock hotel.” “Yah, hello?”
The voice was calm and flat. It was, from the first syllable, a voice that sounded used to getting its own way.
“Am I speaking to the proprietor of the Rock hotel?”
Flora’s heart sank. Whatever they were selling, she didn’t want to buy it and couldn’t afford it anyway.
“Yes, hello, this is Flora, but we’re not really in the—” “Jan MacArthur gave me your number.”
Ah. Jan MacArthur née Mathieson. Jan was a local woman who ran camping and survival courses and had an entirely inexplicable dislike of Flora, who had got off with her husband years ago. Way before they were married, in fact, but somehow this didn’t seem to let Flora off the hook.
“Oh, great!” Flora said brightly.
“Actually, she tried to discourage me, but I’d seen your article . . .”
A journalist had come to the hotel last Christmas to sneer, but had ended up thoroughly enjoying herself and had written a massive rave.
“Anyway. I want to talk to you about weddings.” Flora was ready for this.
“I’m sorry, we don’t do weddings,” she said apologetically. The plan was that soon they absolutely would do wed- dings; they got called all the time about them, and a more photogenic spot could barely be imagined. Once Flora was confident that the hotel, which had only been open for three months, could handle it, that Gaspard wouldn’t have a melt- down, that guests wouldn’t throw up in the flower beds, that they could serve a hundred people at the same time, then she was definitely going to start running it as a wedding venue. She and Joel were going to get married first—well, at least, that was the plan—as a test run, and after that they’d go for it. But there was a little more to it than that: she couldn’t forget Colton and Fintan’s wedding. It had been the most glorious day, the most perfectly planned occasion, wonderful in every way—weather, food, guests, toasts, speeches, everything a dream under a bright blue sky—and it hadn’t saved him from the cancer that had spent the following year eating him from the inside out, breaking Fintan’s heart in the process. It had made everyone a little superstitious. “Jan said you would make an exception for us? My name is Jacinth; I’m calling on behalf of her sister?” Flora’s eyes went wide.

Excerpt. ©Jenny Colgan. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.

Giveaway: 5 Print copies of AN ISLAND WEDDING to US Residents


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Meet the Author:

Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Bookshop on the Corner, Little Beach Street Bakery, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café. Jenny, her husband, and three children live in a genuine castle in Scotland.

27 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: AN ISLAND WEDDING by Jenny Colgan”

  1. Leeza Stetson

    I loved how the excerpt completely dree me in and made me feel as if I were that proverbial fly on the wall. The details set the atmosphere. Like all of Jenny Coglin’s books, this looks like a great read.

  2. Pat Lieberman

    I love generational stories. I read a long time ago one cannot remember the author, Sherryl Woods or Joan Johnston maybe where the last book the had the hero from book one being 90 years old. Awesome. It was cowboy related.

  3. Bonnie

    What a wonderful book! Great cover and excerpt. I’d love to read more.

    • Laurie Gommermann

      The excerpt makes me want to visit the Isle of Mure!
      Sounds like a hectic life with a 1 year old, the start of a new business, planning her wedding and her fiancé away working.

  4. Patricia B.

    I like the writing style. The description of the setting and characters is well done and draws one into the story. This is a place I would love to go, fictional or not, and it sounds like these are people I would like to meet.