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The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
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The Summer Job (edition 2021)

by Lizzy Dent

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513411,196 (3.39)1
Member:Caramellunacy
Title:The Summer Job
Authors:Lizzy Dent
Info:London : Viking, 2021.
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:Scotland, wine, chicklit, alcoholism, very bad choices

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The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent

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Fieldnotes:
Loch Dorn (a small boutique hotel on Scotland's West Coast near Skye), Contemporary in the BeforeTimes (p. 2021)

1 Drifting Young Woman with No Career Prospects
1 Case of Mistaken Identity Taken Way, Way Too Far
1 Very Bad Sort-of Boyfriend

1 Absent Sommelier Friend
0 Wine Knowledge or Credentials
1 Newly Branded Hotel Depending on the Sommelier to Save their Fortune

1 Staff of Lovable Misfits, Including
1 Michelin-Starred Jerk of a Managing Chef
1 Very Handsome Chef with a Passion for Foraging
1 Very Eager Young Wine Enthusiast (Life-Saving Variety)
1 Closet Alcoholic

1 Wine-Based Event that Needs to Be Extraordinary
Too Many Lies to Count
Several Disasters
Beautiful Landscape
Woefully Inadequate Clothing

The Not-So-Short Version:
Elizabeth "Birdy" Finch has no real plan in life and is drifting from unsatisfactory job to unsatisfactory job. When her best friend - an up and coming young sommelier - ditches a job at a small hotel in Scotland and the manager of the hotel mistakes Birdy for her friend at a wine event Birdy is attending in her stead...well, it just seems easier to bluff it out. After all, it's one summer in Scotland - how much could there really be to recommending wine, anyway?

There was a lot to like about this novel - but as a heads-up. It is not as frothy and fluffy as the rom-com cover would have you believe. The book deals (well) with alcoholism, and issues arising from being the child of an alcoholic.

Birdy soon finds herself in way over her head (the hotel has had a luxury makeover and the job entails far more than she anticipated), but buckles down to study to make the most of the summer without (hopefully) destroying her friend's reputation or hopelessly misleading her romantic interest. The staff are a ragtag bunch of lovable misfits who help one another out (heartwarming) through a number of amusing disasters. The inevitable boy is lovely and Scotland around the Isle of Skye is gorgeous and described in a way that lets you admire its beauty as Birdy does. I actually like that a woman in her early 30s is still a bit adrift and trying to figure out her place in the world and the work she does and how invested she becomes in Loch Dorn are great.

But the sort-of grovel at the end doesn't do anything to actually apologize to the people whose livelihoods she risked, and it made me mad that she didn't have to deal with any consequences from being so incredibly self-involved and risking not only herself (fine and understandable) but a LOT of others. Instead she has a direction! So it must be worth it! I liked her, I wanted things to be ok for her in the end and I wanted her to find her sense of belonging. But I don't think she actually did any of the work to repair the relationships that all miraculously are fine by the end of the book. Plus, I just didn't buy the "victory" which seemed like it had a chip on its shoulder about showing up "pretentious wine people" rather than the heart we'd seen elsewhere. ( )
  Caramellunacy | Dec 8, 2021 |
Sweet romance about Birdy (Elizabeth Finch) and her best friend, Heather, both 31. Heather, an accomplished sommelier, has been offered a job at a hotel in Scotland, but she decides to run off to Italy with her boyfriend, Cristian. This leaves Birdy with no place to stay as Heather plans to rent out her London flat as an Airbnb.
When Birdy attends a wine dinner that Heather misses, she is mistaken for Heather, because she is wearing Heather’s name tag, The woman, Irene, is from the Scotland hotel and tells Birdy how excited they are that she (Heather) is taking the job. So Birdy does-thinking it will give her a place to live for the summer. She doesn’t tell Heather that she is taking the job!
She arrives, and realizes the hotel isn’t what she thought, and she also didn’t expect to fall in love with the handsome chef, James. How can she come clean about all her lies?
It was a cute story. Perhaps a bit less of the foul language would be better, though! I liked how Birdy and Heather’s friendship was so special. I liked a lot of the talks Birdy gave to herself, too. ( )
  rmarcin | Jul 8, 2021 |
Elizabeth Finch (Birdy) and Heather have been best friends since childhood. Both depend upon the other. Heather is a very good sommelier and has agreed to a summer job in the highlands of Scotland, but she decides to spend the summer in Italy with her then boyfriend, Cristian. Birdy is a risk-taker who has failed at pretty much everything she has tried so when Heather decided not to go to Scotland, she stepped in and took over the job even though she had no experience as a wine expert. She did not tell Heather she was doing this. Upon arrival at the hotel in Scotland, she finds a renovation in process and 125 wines long wine list. However, she finds she likes the work and especially the people, Bill (an aging drunk), Brett (the yard and horse man), Roxy (a young waitress who wants to be a sommelier), Irene (the supervisor of the hotel), and James (Irene's son and chef). She does what she can to get up to speed but upon falling in love with James, things become very complicated and the lies compound so that she is having to do damage control. This is an interesting summer read. ( )
  baughga | Jun 12, 2021 |
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'You here for a wedding?' the driver asks, his cheery eyes focused on me, and not on the tiny track we're careering up.
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