The Hills is Lonely  (Common Reader Editions)
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The Hills is Lonely (Common Reader Editions)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  368 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Book by Beckwith, Lillian
Paperback, 309 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by Akadine Pr (first published 1959)
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Melody
I think goodreads needs a "tried to read and failed" button in the drop-down menu.

I thought I would enjoy this, based on the other reviews here and just the look of the book, but I was unable to push on past page 90.
Sam Schulman
This part of the "Hebridean Omnibus" is one of the great re-readable books - a true-ish memoir of a London lady of middle years and a little bit of money who spends a few months recovering from an illness on a remote Hebridean island, falls in love with it and moves there, originally published 1959-64. It is one of the precursors of the A Year in Provence genre, only a hundred times better, less self-conscious, less class-conscious though less "matey," more observant, less sick-making, and compl...more
Kathleen Dixon
I think it was the 6th book in this collection that I read years and years ago. I clearly enjoyed it because when I saw this boxed collection of six on a trading table I thought "Oh yes!" and immediately purchased it.

My tastes obviously haven't changed over the years. I laughed and laughed. I wonder, though, if I might perhaps have a bigger appreciation now I'm older (or have had different experiences, perhaps is what I mean to say). For example, now that I've taught English as a Second Language...more
Kari
Jun 24, 2007 Kari rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: expats in the UK
Maybe another time, in another mood. I had heard great things about this suposedly insightful, funny book, but when I tried reading it I just couldn't get into it.

I think part of it was that I had just finished a really good, fast-paced fiction book and the switch to expat life and daily anecdotes from 1950s Scotland seemed a bit bland. So that's my mistake, not the writer's fault.
Ann
I thought from the reviews that I would really enjoy this book. However maybe I wasn’t in the right mood as about a third of the way in I lost interest and gave up. It just felt very dated and I felt the tone of the book was rather patronizing. The locals characters described by the author seemed more like caricatures than real people.
Joanne
I love this book. I didn't want it to end. It's cold and rainy, I'll make hot buttered oatcakes and a pot of tea.
Mary Diegert
This book is very easy to read and is an informative memoir about a 40ish unmarried British woman who took up residence around the 1950s on one of the islands in the Hebrides off the coast of Scotland. The island of Bruach is fictional, and the characters are too, but they are clearly based on people she knew. The residents are mostly "crofters" which means tenant farmers. The lifestyle is spartan and lacking in amenities such as indoor plumbing, but she was apparently attracted to the simple li...more
Iain
A gentle, warm and good-natured tale of an Englishwoman abroad in the Hebrides. The observations and dialogue are very enjoyable. This is an older book that is clearly of its time (it was published in 1959) in terms of its language, but it's all part of the enjoyment. You could argue that this is stuck up Imperialist type anthropology - "behold these strange island savages" type thing - but this would be to overlook both the amount of time the author spent there and the genuine warmth and affect...more
Rowenah
Incredibly patronising but 'fond' view of Islanders from an English ex school marm who moved to Skye, and written in an annoying quip after quip style, but interesting from a social history point of view of what life was like in the Hebrides in the 1950s (if you get past the view that all the Islanders were halfwits and the author was the only voice of reason).
John
Of its time, perhaps, and a little one note, but its a very good one. Nowadays a writer would be expected to include long prose-poem passages on the beauty/isolatedness/savagery of the Hebridean landscape, so luckily we are spared that. Funny, with a Jane Austinish tone, and refreshingly free of sentimentality. Quite harsh and bracing at times even. As usual, one wants to know more; how true is it? What was the mysterious ailment that lead her to convalesce? How did she pay for this sojourn? Why...more
Krista
Lillian Beckwith, advised by her doctor to recover in a restful place, retired from her teaching job and moved to a small Scottish island. This book recounts her adventures during her first year there, becoming acquainted with local customs and people. She relates her stories with humor and affection. The island's windswept beauty contrasts at times with the rather rough existence its citizens eke out, and Beckwith does not spare the unsavory bits. The perspective is refreshing after a slew of r...more
CuteBadger
I loved Lillian Beckwith's Bruach books in my early teens and read them all more than once, so thought I would revisit them over 30 years later to see if they still held their magic.

I remembered this first book in the series very well, but on reading it as an adult I found it more than slightly uncomfortable as it seemed the author had a cruel edge to her mocking of the island's inhabitants. She makes obvious her feelings of superiority over the islanders and treats them like a lost native tribe...more
Giselle
I laughed out loud reading this. At times the people seem a little over-the-top but it was fun to read about her adventures.
Jennifer
I read this book while staying in a tiny cabin on Saltspring Island, BC. The warmth of the fictionalized close-knit community, as described by the Englishwoman at the heart of the story, made me long for the good old days I'd never known.
Tim
One of her many books I read as a child in Moidart...
Jessica
I should have a Re-read shelf; this is my second time through this wonderful series full of unforgettable, quotable characters, set in the wild isolation of 1940's Scottish Hebrides. It's even better this time around. I class this series with: A Year In Provence, Lark Rise To Candleford, Little House on the Prairie, Under The Tuscan Sun, All Creatures Great And Small. My favorite genre of books: while I'm being thoroughly entertained, I'm learning "how they did it" - how people in a culture or t...more
April
Disappointing. It just seemed to me that the author was constantly making fun of the Scottish people. It made me uncomfortable.
lowercase
witty and tart, this is a character sketch of a time that no longer exists in a place where few have ventured. it's a collection of short tales, really, that combine to create an insightful portrait of an isolated village at the end of the world, and the people who bring it to life in charming, delightful, and completely individual ways. if the writer is occasionally a bit patronizing towards those of whom she writes, it can be forgiven, because she doesn't spare herself from her own pointed obs...more
Sandie
This book was lent to me by a friend to read in preparation for a trip to Scotland. There is no plot, but a series of vignettes about life in the Hebrides in the late 1940s or early 50s.

Lillian Beckwith goes from a northern England town to the remote and rural Hebrides to live with one of the crofters for several years. Her descriptions of the villagers and her interactions with them are often funny. Her descriptions of Hebridean life are good as well.
Jan
Enjoyed the setting and the time period and the hysterically funny situations. You would think the author somewhat condescending and snide if it weren't for her obvious affection for the people and the Isle of Skye. Although some libraries have this listed as biography, I'm sure she used much artistic license. Will read more of the series.
Gill
I enjoyed this book and didn't find the authors attitudes towards the crofters patronising or superior. I felt that her attitude was probably very fitting to the time in which it was written. It actually reminded me of Miss Reads writing. I will definitely be looking out to read another of her books.
Linda
Found this and 3 other Beckwith books at a local used bookstore, and I couldn't resist. I am loving this so far.
---
It's a charming memoir with a classic theme: city slicker meets country bumpkins. It was the perfect thing to read on a blustery day, curled up with the cat by the Christmas tree.
Deb
Beckwith, an Englishwoman, went to live on one of the Scottish Islands and wrote a bunch of books about the people and way of life. My mother and I enjoyed them. The tone was a bit condescending, but there were some wonderful stories and the social history is fascinating.
Sarah
A book of two halves. Thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book with the author adapting to life in a small croft but the second half was overlong. A fun read with some humour, but felt forced by the end of the book.
Betsy
Lillian Beckwith wrote a fiction series around a retired single woman, a teacher, who moves to the Hebrides...and has many misadventures with neighbors, climate, her house, etc. Very funny books, and touching, as well.
Sue Sullivan
One of my staples. Read 1st in 1966 on holiday and have re-read it so many times I've lost count. It is easy, amusing reading. Totally stress free. Couldn't live without it.
Just finished it again.
T4bsF
Ok. A pleasant read but lots more could have been put into the why's and wherefores. I wanted to know a lot more about the subject of the story and her friends. Also it ended very abruptly!
Feodora
A wonderfull story about the people of the isles, the scots, their attituted towards the english, the landscape the weather......
NC
Went and bought a collection of her other works. Lovely language, beautiful setting, funny stories, touching feel good.
Alex Walker
Great wee book. Bought on Kindle on the daily sale. Turned out to be a great read. Funny throughout :-)
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Lilian Comber wrote fiction and non-fiction for both adults and children under the pseudonym Lillian Beckwith. She is best known for her series of comic novels based on her time living on a croft in the Scottish Hebrides.

Beckwith was born in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, in 1916, where her father ran a grocery shop. The shop provided the background for her memoir About My Father's Business, a child’s...more
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