Island of Wings, by Karin Altenberg (Quercus 2011)

Neil's picture

Island of Wings is a novel based on true events, set on the isolated island of St Kilda off the west coast of Scotland in the 1830s and 1840s. The novel focuses on the life of Lizzie MacKenzie, wife of the Reverend Neil MacKenzie, who was the priest on the small community from 1830 to 1844. He was responsible for modernising of the agricultural techniques on the island and the building of a new church, but the experiences of his wife are equally fascinating, as she struggles with privations, childbirth, language and social isolation. The island and life there are brought to life quite brilliantly in this superbly atmospheric novel.