Read The Hills is Lonely by Lillian Beckwith Online


The Hills is Lonely tells a simple tale: needing to recuperate from an illness, the author finds a suitable retreat on the Hebridean island of Bruach, whose inhabitants, routines, and rituals are as eccentric and entertaining as any reader could wish. Beckwith's narrative describing island life is filled with humor, surprise, affection, and keen observance. Originally publThe Hills is Lonely tells a simple tale: needing to recuperate from an illness, the author finds a suitable retreat on the Hebridean island of Bruach, whose inhabitants, routines, and rituals are as eccentric and entertaining as any reader could wish. Beckwith's narrative describing island life is filled with humor, surprise, affection, and keen observance. Originally published in 1959....

Title : The Hills is Lonely
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781888173420
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 309 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Hills is Lonely Reviews

  • Joanne
    2019-02-01 09:40

    I love this book. I didn't want it to end. It's cold and rainy, I'll make hot buttered oatcakes and a pot of tea.

  • Sam Schulman
    2019-02-18 02:27

    This part of the "Hebridean Omnibus" is one of the great re-readable books - a true-ish memoir of a London lady of middle years and a little bit of money who spends a few months recovering from an illness on a remote Hebridean island, falls in love with it and moves there, originally published 1959-64. It is one of the precursors of the A Year in Provence genre, only a hundred times better, less self-conscious, less class-conscious though less "matey," more observant, less sick-making, and completely hilarious. Although completely decent, Beckwith teaches the observant more about the fundamentals of intersexual relations in Scotland than the human mind can really comprehend. On the other hand, if the person with whom you share your life and hearth is the kind of person who dislikes being read snippets aloud in bed (and who doesn't hate that), this is not the book for you. But as one with a wide experience of life and letters, my advice is to just go ahead and read this despite the very real risk. You will more easily replace a cherished lover whom your reading of Beckwith aloud in bed has driven away than you will find a better book. But wait, you've got to hear this - the village dance where the admission charge is "Men is 4s.; Ladies 3s. 6d. & pkt soap flakes as usual (no splitting)"

  • Melody
    2019-02-02 08:17

    I think goodreads needs a "tried to read and failed" button in the drop-down menu.I thought I would enjoy this, based on the other reviews here and just the look of the book, but I was unable to push on past page 90.

  • Kathleen Dixon
    2019-02-13 01:39

    I think it was the 6th book in this collection that I read years and years ago. I clearly enjoyed it because when I saw this boxed collection of six on a trading table I thought "Oh yes!" and immediately purchased it.My tastes obviously haven't changed over the years. I laughed and laughed. I wonder, though, if I might perhaps have a bigger appreciation now I'm older (or have had different experiences, perhaps is what I mean to say). For example, now that I've taught English as a Second Language I have a greater appreciation of the wonderful humour there is in translation. I had a student who was learning that instead of saying "big letters" we say "capital letters". It made perfect sense for her to introduce me to her "capital son". Well, this book is full of lovely local idiomatic use of words which are very, very funny.I also think I read that 6th book when I was a teenager (yes - a LONG time ago), and before I'd been briefly to Scotland, because I had some very clear memory-pictures of hills and wildness that I don't recall from the first reading. Mind you, it's that long ago (well - 35 years or so mayn't be that long to some people - I guess it depends on which generation you are. Now that's an interesting point - I wonder what the age range of GoodReads members is??) that my memory could be decidedly faulty.Anyway, I'm going to enjoy reading the rest of these.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-15 03:36

    I should have a Re-read shelf; this is my second time through this wonderful series full of unforgettable, quotable characters, set in the wild isolation of 1940's Scottish Hebrides. It's even better this time around. I class this series with: A Year In Provence, Lark Rise To Candleford, Little House on the Prairie, Under The Tuscan Sun, All Creatures Great And Small. My favorite genre of books: while I'm being thoroughly entertained, I'm learning "how they did it" - how people in a culture or time period not my own, went about their daily living.

  • Evi
    2019-02-21 04:11

    Written in the 50's, parts of it were a bit dated; but I enjoyed it immensely. Lillian Beckwith, a middle-aged teacher from England is ordered by her doctor to take a complete rest in the country. She find a lovely spot in the wilds of the Hebrides with Morag who lives in a primitive croft.The incidents of country life are often hilariously funny as she learns to live with little comforts of life.Found the used book online and surprisingly it was a discard from the Hertfordshire County Library, North Watford, England.

  • Shannon
    2019-01-26 02:26

    This is my favorite book. All time favorite. I really put it up there, right with the good book itself. But with that being said, you have to enjoy a few things before you will enjoy this book. Lillian Beckwith writes in an almost conversational manner. It is very much like sitting with a good storyteller and listening to one yarn after another. They seem to melt into one another, never forced or contrived. It never has a rambling nature to it. It can be very poetic at times. She is a humble person and it radiates in her writing. You need to have a keen interest in Scotland and especially the Hebrides. I have several lines of ancestors originating here and my curiosity was satisfied. Although my grandfather was about American as you could get, I could see his Scottish blood after reading the antics of the crofters. Lastly, you have to be able appreciate a novel that is character heavy and not so much plot. The stories are golden but in today's world, many might see them as slow and weak. I was disappointed to see a few reviewers who felt she was actually making fun of the crofters. I never got that feeling at all myself. She even states many times how much she admires their tenacity and grit. Yes, she may chuckle at some of their unrealistic views but never in a patronizing tone. And I agree totally with many of the other reviewers who mark these as to be read and re-read again. I know I visit this series often.

  • Kari
    2019-01-28 02:40

    Maybe another time, in another mood. I had heard great things about this suposedly insightful, funny book, but when I tried reading it I just couldn't get into it. I think part of it was that I had just finished a really good, fast-paced fiction book and the switch to expat life and daily anecdotes from 1950s Scotland seemed a bit bland. So that's my mistake, not the writer's fault.

  • Ann
    2019-02-11 07:23

    I thought from the reviews that I would really enjoy this book. However maybe I wasn’t in the right mood as about a third of the way in I lost interest and gave up. It just felt very dated and I felt the tone of the book was rather patronizing. The locals characters described by the author seemed more like caricatures than real people.

  • JulieDurnell
    2019-02-13 02:10

    Amusing story of living in the Hebrides but a little on the dry side.

  • Freenarnian
    2019-02-16 09:37

    An entertaining memoir, though somewhat dated by the authoress's tone, which at times is slightly off-putting, as when describing the (admittedly amusing) antics of the "primitive" Gaelic community in which she chooses to live and work. She counterbalances this, however, with frequent laughter at her own urbanite blunders, and with warm admiration for the unique wisdom, humor, and charm of her new neighbors. Recommended for fans of James Herriot, or anyone who fancies a memorable and laugh-out-loud "bookcation" to the Scottish Hebrides.

  • Stephanie Carne
    2019-02-03 01:32

    The start of this book is very good and I'm sure it would be enjoyable to read if you are planning a trip to this part of Scotland. It is amusing, relaxing reading. It's a memoir of her time in the islands.

    2019-01-29 03:40

    Wonderful ,hilariously captivating.Who would have thought a brief spell away to the country, for fresh air, rest and relaxation would have lasted nigh on two years. Brought about such toil and hilarity. A must read.

  • Moonstone
    2019-01-30 02:17

    Reminded me of the James Herriot books. Quite funny and sometimes ridiculous, but well written. A real insight into the lives of the highland crofters.

  • Avis Black
    2019-02-09 06:19

    Read part of it, then gave up. The author thought everything was icky, and I'm not going to spend an entire book in the company of someone who constantly complains, justified or not.

  • W.R. Gingell
    2019-02-10 02:33

    I found a book in an opshop one day. That's not unusual, of course. I've found many books in many opshops around Australia (and a few in America). It was in one of my book-binge shops, where I ended up with a whole plastic bag full of books at 10c each, paperback and hardback alike.That book was THE HILLS IS LONELY by Lillian Beckwith. I picked it up sheerly because I liked the title, but the blurb on the back really sold it. The blurb read:When Lillian Beckwith advertised for a secluded place in the country, she received a letter with the following unusual description of an isolated Hebridean croft: 'Surely it's that quiet even the sheeps themselves on the hills is lonely and as to the sea it's that near as I use it myself everyday for the refusals...'Her curiosity aroused, Beckwith took up the invitation. This is the comic and enchanting story of the strange rest-cure that followed and her efforts to adapt to a completely different way of life.It sounded wonderful, and I'd been meaning to read more non-fiction anyway. THE HILLS IS LONELY seemed like a good place to start.It was. I'm not sure exactly how much of it is from Lillian Beckwith's actual experiences and how much of it is made up (she writes fiction also), but whatever the breakdown is, the whole of it is enchanting. She has such a way with words, and such a fine hand for characters that you can't help feeling that you're there, and that you never want to leave."I like the way you townfolk seem to be able to dance on your toes," panted my partner admiringly."You're dancing on them too," I replied with a ghostly chuckle that was half irony and half agony."Me? Dancin' on me toes?""No," I retorted brutally, "on mine.""I thought I must be," said Lachy simply, and with no trace of remorse; "I could tell by the way your face keeps changin'."You can get this one on Kindle, though I really recommend getting the paperback. This is one of those books that you'll want to feel in your hands and smell the scent of as you read it.But whichever format you prefer to read, just read this one. I promise you, you'll want to go on to the next, and then the next...

  • C.
    2019-01-30 07:39

    “The Hills Is Lonely” is a memorable true story published in 1959, after Englishwoman, Lillian Beckwith moved to Scotland’s Hebrides. She comically described an ill-educated reply to her advertisement for a peaceful cottage rental. Lillian describes laughing over the phrasing of Morag’s replies, conjuring the impression of a simpleton. Upon arrival at her Bruach croft we learn she is warm-hearted, eager to please, a respected elder, and very smart. The matter is merely that their isle was isolated. She describes customs so peculiar, they had to have been carried from Biblical times! Supplies needed to be ordered and ferried and no one, until Lillian, owned a car.What makes this novel fun is that Lillian had no interest in teaching modern ways to the people but was on the contrary, eager to immerse herself in their everyday living. She was courteous, helpful, and quick to learn; even if at first it was terrifying to travel a stormy sea by tiny ferry. No one had property gates that weren’t frequently under a high tide, precipitating an unimagined necessity to leap Morag’s property wall. It was daunting and utterly alien to Lillian, the night of her arrival. Proprietors wore multiple hats, like the church leader running the grocery store. He wouldn’t let anyone buy something on a Saturday, that might constitute work on a Sunday!Lillian conveys this alien, close-knit community with a thoroughness that results in our understanding of these people. Although expected and mentioned minutely, reference to killing animals makes five stars impossible for me. Mainly, we are a star short because the whole of Lillian’s narrative and descriptions are heavy-handed with adjectives and adverbs. They drown every sentence, even action, when many could breeze by briskly. I am however, definitely appreciative enough of her story to locate its sequels.

  • Iain
    2019-01-29 05:14

    A gentle, warm and good-natured tale of an Englishwoman abroad in the Hebrides. The observations and dialogue are very enjoyable. This is an older book that is clearly of its time (it was published in 1959) in terms of its language, but it's all part of the enjoyment. You could argue that this is stuck up Imperialist type anthropology - "behold these strange island savages" type thing - but this would be to overlook both the amount of time the author spent there and the genuine warmth and affection she displays for the Gaels that she knows she will never truly understand. Approach this book as the author did with the islands - that is, with an open mind and heart - and I think you'll enjoy it.Tiny caveat - it was great to pick up this book from Kindle store for 99p, and great to see this book receive some renewed exposure to a new audience. But, as with far too many Kindle editions, the formatting of the book into Kindle format is sloppy - plenty of full stops instead of commas and poor alignment (the glossary is like code it is so dreadfully put together!)Book lovers love books - publishers need to remember and respect this - and respect the author's efforts in the first place! Let's bring an end to what seems to be scan and publish Kindle editions. Let's say yes to an extra 30p to help pay for some decent proofing! (Rant over!)

  • Cindy
    2019-02-08 05:34

    This book was a pleasure to read. The English narrator moves to a tiny town in the Hebrides islands of Scotland - for vague health reasons. She there experiences the culture shock of what is, in essence, an entirely new world. The stories of her adventures in her first two years there are wickedly funny, but also show genuine affection for these wacky people. The language was the root of many of the funniest passages. The title comes from the description of the charms of the place from Beckwith's landlady-to-be: "Surely its that quiet here even the sheeps themselves on the hills is lonely and as to the sea its that near I use it myself every day for the refusals."The book is written like fiction, with the narrator being Miss Peckwitt, but on a couple of occasion's she's called "Miss Beckwith". Not sure if that was a typo or a not-so-subtle hint that this is, indeed, a true account.This book was written in mid-20th century, and I'm a big of fan of most earlier 20th century British writing. I'll be reading the next book in the series soon.

  • Peter Tillman
    2019-02-23 08:27

    A good review:"Lillian Beckwith, a teacher from the north of England, was told by her doctor to take a complete rest somewhere in the country. She advertised for a place, and got a response from Morag McDugan in the Hebrides. “I live by myself and you could have the room that is not a kitchen and a bedroom reasonable.” A later letter told her, “Surely its that quiet here even the sheeps themselves on the hills is lonely and as to the sea its that near I use it myself every day for the refusals.” Miss Beckwith cannot resist, and ends up arriving in the Hebrides along with a torrential storm. A rough sea crossing and a disreputable taxi brought her to her new home, where she and her luggage were flung over a wall to receive a warm and wonderful welcome.It’s a tribute to Lillian Beckwith’s sense of humor that she stayed for years, had her rest (?!), experienced the culture and made warm friends. She also produced a delightful book. ..."

  • Mary Diegert
    2019-01-24 04:17

    This book is very easy to read and is an informative memoir about a 40ish unmarried British woman who took up residence around the 1950s on one of the islands in the Hebrides off the coast of Scotland. The island of Bruach is fictional, and the characters are too, but they are clearly based on people she knew. The residents are mostly "crofters" which means tenant farmers. The lifestyle is spartan and lacking in amenities such as indoor plumbing, but she was apparently attracted to the simple lifestyle and the beauty of the islands - she wrote 6 more books along the same lines and she eventually wound up buying property in the Hebrides, according to Wikipedia. I enjoyed learning about the lifestyle and the people of the Hebrides, but was a little put off by her descriptions of the people which seemed to imply that she felt superior to them. This may be unfair since she chose to live the crofter lifestyle for many years, and was always apparently always willing to work and help out whenever she was needed. It just seems like there is a touch of ridicule in her descriptions.

  • Guan
    2019-02-19 05:30

    Delightful doesn't really begin to cover it. Hilarious accounts of the Beckwith's real-life move to the Hebrides, and her initial culture shock of the uniquely practical culture of the locals. However what brings it from mocking to joyous is her own willingness to put herself inside the stories, make herself the butt of the jokes as much as anything, and her genuine affection for this culture as she transitions from outsider to insider. Thoroughly recommended.

  • John
    2019-02-16 09:10

    Of its time, perhaps, and a little one note, but its a very good one. Nowadays a writer would be expected to include long prose-poem passages on the beauty/isolatedness/savagery of the Hebridean landscape, so luckily we are spared that. Funny, with a Jane Austinish tone, and refreshingly free of sentimentality. Quite harsh and bracing at times even. As usual, one wants to know more; how true is it? What was the mysterious ailment that lead her to convalesce? How did she pay for this sojourn? Why did she stay so long?My mum loved this series of books, and looking at the rather insipid watercolor covers takes me right back to childhood and seeing them by her bedside. For me, actually, that's a big part of their appeal; a good old wallow.

  • Emmkay
    2019-02-02 09:17

    I recall reading and enjoying Lillian Beckwith's books in my early teens or thereabouts, so I looked her up at my library to see if they still had any. Indeed they did, and I was able to get a dog-eared copy of the first in this series. According to the date stamps in the back, they've had it on the shelf longer than I've been alive. It was fun to rediscover. Beckwith recounts her move to a small village in the Hebrides and humourous interactions with the local folk. Cows, whiskey, and slapstick. Not loads of depth, and one wonders how the local folk, who were presumably in fact three-dimensional, would have reacted to their portrayal. My mind wandered a bit in the last third or so, as it's all sort of more of the same, but overall it was enjoyable.

  • CuteBadger
    2019-02-11 04:35

    I loved Lillian Beckwith's Bruach books in my early teens and read them all more than once, so thought I would revisit them over 30 years later to see if they still held their magic.I remembered this first book in the series very well, but on reading it as an adult I found it more than slightly uncomfortable as it seemed the author had a cruel edge to her mocking of the island's inhabitants. She makes obvious her feelings of superiority over the islanders and treats them like a lost native tribe being corrected by their lordly English superior. This discomfort means I'll be thinking long and hard before re-reading any of the subsequent Bruach books.

  • Barbra
    2019-01-28 05:22

    I love Lillian Beckwith's books on her life on an island in the Hebrides. Funny and enchanting stories of her neighbours and the goings-on around her. Back Cover Blurb:When Lillian Beckwith advertised for a quiet, secluded place in the country, she received the following unorthodox description of the attractions of life in an isolated Hebridean croft: 'Surely it's that quiet even the sheeps themselves on the hills is lonely and as to the sea it's that near as I use it myself everyday for the refusals......'Intrigued by her would-be landlady's letter and spurred on by the scepticism of her friends, Lillian Beckwith replied in the affirmative.

  • Krista
    2019-02-17 03:31

    Lillian Beckwith, advised by her doctor to recover in a restful place, retired from her teaching job and moved to a small Scottish island. This book recounts her adventures during her first year there, becoming acquainted with local customs and people. She relates her stories with humor and affection. The island's windswept beauty contrasts at times with the rather rough existence its citizens eke out, and Beckwith does not spare the unsavory bits. The perspective is refreshing after a slew of romanticized books about making a home in a new country. The reader can also sense that despite their flaws, Beckwith truly loved the island and its inhabitants.

  • lowercase
    2019-02-01 04:22

    witty and tart, this is a character sketch of a time that no longer exists in a place where few have ventured. it's a collection of short tales, really, that combine to create an insightful portrait of an isolated village at the end of the world, and the people who bring it to life in charming, delightful, and completely individual ways. if the writer is occasionally a bit patronizing towards those of whom she writes, it can be forgiven, because she doesn't spare herself from her own pointed observations and barbed humor.

  • Joe Rodeck
    2019-02-07 03:13

    I enjoyed the linguistics: entomology, idioms; most commentary for comical effect. The medical nostrums are also unintentionally funny, doctor's advice given scant regard. Not easy reading. Dry, subtle British sense of humor.I enjoyed the high literary values and absence of sentimentality. She just gets a kick out of curious customs. There's no obligatory love story or even significant friendship. She'd just as soon try to fit in for whatever the rewards may be.

  • Sandie
    2019-02-20 01:21

    This book was lent to me by a friend to read in preparation for a trip to Scotland. There is no plot, but a series of vignettes about life in the Hebrides in the late 1940s or early 50s.Lillian Beckwith goes from a northern England town to the remote and rural Hebrides to live with one of the crofters for several years. Her descriptions of the villagers and her interactions with them are often funny. Her descriptions of Hebridean life are good as well.