Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Book I loved: The Last Pearl Fisher of Scotland

September 27th, 2016
Calling All Authors

Julia Stuart is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author whose second novel was on the Obamas’ summer reading list. Her latest book, The Last Pearl Fisher of Scotlandhas just hit the shelves. I talked to Julia for 26’s monthly e-letter about point of view, plot and how to make people laugh. Read the interview here and learn a thing or two about pulling off quirky, engaging and nail biting – all in one book.


Julia is very funny – in person and on the page. Ideas for novels just seem to come to her. A curious fact will spark her imagination and off she canters. Below is an excerpt from Julia’s blog.

The book was inspired by a visit to a family friend in Scotland. At the time I was living in Bahrain, and had just been diving for pearls. After telling Ann that I’d actually found one, albeit the size of a freckle, she promptly disappeared and returned with a pearl necklace. The pearls had been found in Scottish rivers, she insisted. In mussels. I must have blinked several times, the way I do when required to do maths. Like most people, I’d always assumed that all pearls come from marine oysters.


Julia above diving for pearls

The idea got stuck in Julia’s brain and she says she had to write her way out it. The Last Pearl Fisher of Scotland is the delightful result.

Her book tells the story of Brodie McBride, the last pearl fisher of Scotland, who is determined to finish a gorgeous pearl necklace for his wife thinking that will save his 19-year marriage.  Just one pearl is all he needs to find, the big one to sit in the middle. Whether he finds it and what happens next is something you’ll have to find out by reading this book. Suffice to say, I loved this book, and got pleasantly lost in it. The characters feel real, never dull, and the interwoven plots are both original and believable.

September, 2016

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