Island Wife

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ISLAND WIFE: living on the edge of the wild

My childhood socks were always white, my frocks ironed. Each day predictable, safe. And yet the rebel was growing in me, restless, searching. I escaped. Aged 19, I was swept off my feet by a wild adventurer and married within months. Two small children later (with three more to come) complete with Labradors, cats, a heavy horse and our hearts full of dreams, we arrived on a remote Hebridean island to begin our life on the Tapsalteerie Estate. Nothing was ever predictable again.

ISLAND WIFE tells the story of Judy, who, at 19, met her Wild Pioneer. He whisked her off into an adventure, a marriage of forty years, and a life on a remote Hebridean island, where the sea-birds fly, the weather is always changing and whales swim in the deep. Along the way she bears five children, learns how to help run a rocky hill farm, a hotel, a recording studio and the first whale watching business in the UK  – all the while inventively making fraying ends meet. When her children start to leave home, things fall apart and there is sadness and joy in how she puts things back together. Judy tells her story in a clear and unique voice, in turns funny, unforgettable and intensely moving.

When I read my own story I can’t believe my life has been this way. It even makes me laugh now, although it didn’t at the time and there’s the point of it.

Any woman will relate to some part, and in that moment, be freed from her self doubt, and say to herself, ‘If she can do that with grace and humour, then so can I.’ It’s not just a book, it’s the courage to keep going, to never give up. __

Island wife is published by Two Roads and is out now.

Links: Judy’s website, featuring an online gallery of her art

Follow Judy on Twitter

Like Judy’s Facebook page

Click to Order

13 thoughts on “Island Wife

  1. What an inspiring book. So beautifully written from the heart. No sugar-coating or over-romanticising of a life with many hardships, but deeply felt rewards along the way. I don’t know what attracted me to this book when I saw it in a giftshop in the Scottish Highlands whilst there on holiday in July 2019. I was intrigued by the concept of starting life afresh on a remote Scottish island. My husband & I met on an island in Tasmania, Australia, & we would have loved to have made our life together there, but sadly, there was not enough work to sustain us. Perhaps I wanted your book to help me fantasize about what life could be as an Island Wife. But I got so much more than that out of your book. There are many similarities that drew me into your world. My husband & I had our first “date” at sea looking for dolphins, & maybe even whales (but nit on that trip). I am a professional musician. My husband has set up his own business in agriculture. I am so sorry to read of Alex’s passing in recent times. It has obviously been a difficult few years for you all, but as with all your obstacles, you seem to have approached it with strength and faith, and dealt with each challenge as it came to you. I wish you nothing but good fortune in the coming years. Do keep writing – your talent and ability to move us with your words undeniable.

    • Thank you Heather for making contact and for your words. My mother-in-law lived with her emigre family on Tasmania for some years. I remember her telling me she never wore shoes till she was 10. My story is not so unusual, maybe wilder and more adventurous than many but with the same core goods and bags inside a married life. Perhaps now I am alone I might write the next enstalment…..we shall see. Meantime I blog and that seems enough for now. All the best to you and keep being curious about life. The adventures only stop if we stop seeking them. Love Judy x

  2. I have again enjoyed of having people say to me “ what a wonderful recommendation of a book” it is one of those few found literature gems that’s asks no more of you than to enjoy and live your life to a tiny extent with you. Some years ago I had the utter pleasure of cooking for you and Oops whilst doing my time at Calgary, Pops loved his very rare steaks ! Your children then were at home with and a mixed bunch of human animals I have yet to encounter again, in a good way. They were wild in their spirit and gentle in their actions born to be outdoors living an adventure there on the Isle. So I wish you al” well , love to Pops in particular as he fights a big fight and to you for simply being you. Take care guys.

    Dave x

  3. Today I finished reading your book, which I bought on a whim in the Culloden Battlefield gift shop. (It was an odd place for a gift shop, but at least it led me to your book.) I loved your book. So richly atmospheric and detailed. I wish I could read it all over again for the first time.

  4. Deepest gratitude for a most amazing heart and soul story. More of a recognition and homecoming than just a good story. Manages to speak to every woman and it saved my life!!!!! Thank you thank you

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    • It is a wonderful thing to say -‘ I have changed’ – so many avoid and resist it and they lose out on the joy that is (so I am told) feeling ok, even good about the choices we make and the way we live them out. We fall, but we don’t stay down. J

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