Book Review: 500 Miles from You by Jenny Colgan

Follow job-swap nurses Lissa and Cormac as they adjust to a new way of life and heal emotionally in Jenny Colgan’s new novel

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I received a copy of 500 Miles From You* for review purposes

500 Miles From You starts off on a traumatic note. A teenage boy is the victim of a hit and run on a London street, in front of Lissa, a nurse who is unable to save him.

Meanwhile in rural Scotland, community nurse Cormac is left emotionally drained after caring for a young heart transplant patient.

So when they are offered a three month job swap, both Lissa and Cormac seize the opportunity. Maybe a change of scenery will help with the stress they are under?

500 Miles From You* follows Lissa as she tries to adjust to a community where everyone knows your business, while Cormac struggles with the insular nature of city life. As they swap notes and advice over email, they start to grow closer – but can they really be falling for each other?

Lissa and Cormac have both got their own problems, and it takes them a while to settle into their new locations. They are supported by a fascinating cast of characters, and Jenny Colgan paints a vivid picture of each one of them. You’ll love the friendly inhabitants of Kirrinfief with their super-efficient village grapevine, and Lissa’s fabulous London-based colleague Kim-Ange.

I read this book when the UK was under lockdown, at a time when all but essential travel was forbidden. And you, like me, may be looking for a book that will distract you and whisk you away from the current situation.

Reading 500 Miles from You at home in Shropshire, Jenny Colgan’s writing transported me to both the city and the countryside in turn. I could picture the tiny Scottish village of Kirrinfief and the close knit rural community that Lissa finds herself living in. I could hear the buzz and energy of the streets of London, that seem so far away at the moment. It made me feel so nostalgic for trips to Scotland and for days spent in art galleries in London.

And there are a few references to the Proclaimers along the way, which made me smile!

But as the story builds to its conclusion and Lissa takes the stand at the hit and run trial, I found myself almost holding my breath. I so badly wanted Lissa and Cormac to have the happy ending that they both deserved.

I loved this book, and have to admit to shedding a few tears over the final chapter. If you fancy a little escapism mixed with a very modern romance, this is the book for you!

The blurb:

Lissa loves her job as a nurse, but recently she’s been doing a better job of looking after other people than looking after herself. After a traumatic incident at work leaves her feeling overwhelmed, she agrees to swap lives with someone in a quiet village in Scotland.

Cormac is restless. Just out of the army, he’s desperately in need of distraction, and there’s precious little of it in Kirrinfief. Maybe three months in London is just what he needs.

As Lissa and Cormac warm to their new lives, emailing back and forth about anything and everything, finally things seem to be falling into place. But each of them feel there’s still a piece missing. What – or who – could it be?

And what if it’s currently five hundred miles away?

A heartwarming novel that’s very emotional in places – 8/10

500 Miles From You* will be published by Sphere on 28th May 2020 in hardback and Kindle format

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