I'm giving this book 4 stars. I thought the prose was lovely. It read well, and the vivid descriptions were wonderful, one of the best books I've read in this genre as far as beautiful descriptions. I enjoyed the Gaelic, however I'm not sure how much it really added, since not many people read enough Gaelic for it to connect, and there are no cognates to help you figure it out.
I enjoyed the characters. The two MCs were strong and vivid. Harry was perhaps not as well defined as I'd have liked, and yet the story revolved around him. He just seemed grumpy. If I had learned more about him earlier (without giving away the story) I think I would have related more to him and felt more sympathetic.
On the other hand, I felt the story line sort of dragged. While the characters were developed, I didn't feel there was enough story to justify the number of pages. I guess I say this a lot in my reviews: must be that I like more compact stories.
This book re-enforces my belief that an author must really know and understand the background setting for their stories. Perhaps they don't have to write entirely from personal experience, but it really does help that they are writing from their own personal feelings and background. This is a good example. Harper Fox lives and writes from Northern England. This book is set in the far reaches of western Scotland. I'm sure she researched it, however it shows more than just research. It is written from the standpoint of loving a domain and a lifestyle.
I'm not comparing this book or the author to American greats like Hemingway, Cather, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald. But all of these authors wrote from their own experiences. Hemingway, about WWI, Spain, Italy and his machismo. Cather about life in pioneer America and how she was raised. Steinbeck about growing up in Central California where he grew up. Fitzgerald about life in the South where he was from. None of these great authors were so great that they didn't feel the need to draw from their own observations.....
Well enough of my soapbox. I enjoyed the book. Hope others do too.