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  1. This was a first for me: reading a book which I bought in the exact place about which it was written, specifically The Bookshop in Wigtown High Street. Jessica Fox was working as a storyteller for NASA in Hollywood and building a career as a film director, but she felt dissatisfied, and kept imagining herself sitting at the counter of a second hand bookshop in a town by the sea in Scotland. So she decided to look for a working holiday in such an establishment, and a quick Google search turned up The Bookshop in Scotland's National Booktown. After a few emails, she was invited to stay with the owner, Euan (actually called Sean) during the town's annual book festival. "Just don't fall in love" said her Mum. You can guess what followed. Her story has its predictable moments, but I'm a sucker for airport reunions and the like, so I loved it. It was interesting to read about her perceptions of Scotland, even though some were clearly exaggerated for the sake of kookiness. Anyone reading it will be surprised to find that they can drive from Glasgow Airport to Culzean Castle, then on to Wigtown, on perfectly adequate A roads, and not on what she calls "one track roads" with hair raising turns and sheer drops to one side. Really. After that start, I had to wonder how much of her experience was exaggerated, but her relationship with Euan is clearly far from plain sailing, whatever the sequence of events really was, and I really felt for her. I felt myself wondering how well it has gone since. But it was lovely to read about Galloway while I was actually there, and to see its sleepy charms, and those of Scotland in general, through the eyes of an appreciative outsider. It's a long book, but an undemanding read, and I flew through this.
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