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Book 20 years in the making cruises towards positive reviews

A Peterborough author who used lockdown to complete a debut novel 20 years after starting has been delighted by positive reviews.
Eilidh MacDonald finally completed her book after 20 years. Photo: Supplied

Eilidh MacDonald, who lives in Hampton Vale in Peterborough, has received glowing 5-star reviews of her comedy novel entitled ‘The Best Worst Mistake’.

Eilidh, 50, moved to Peterborough in 1986 from Scotland to join an Irish band as a singer before working on cruise ships for four years, which proved the inspiration for her novel.

She met the father of her daughter aboard and moved to Italy where she worked in Public Relations before returning to UK.  She married Chris from Stamford in 2015 and her daughter Aischa is now 22. Eilidh says the story is based on her real-life experiences while working on cruise ships in the 1990’s while the characters are purely fictional.  

She said: “My intent on writing is to make the reader smile and even laugh out loud. I want you to be sitting on that bus or in a coffee shop and laugh out loud, so the people around you will look at you and wonder what you found so funny. 

“The humour is imperative in this story for Jessica to deal with the alien and sometimes unbearable situations she finds herself in.

“I worked on Cruises from 1992 - 1997 and the characters are the heart of the ship and my novel. Whilst much of what is described on working on the ship is true, the characters are my fictional best friends.

“There will be a follow-up novel coming soon so don't worry, you won't be left wondering!”

Among the reviews, one reader said: “OMG - Loved every minute of this book. Felt every high and low along with the lovely Jessica. Some really great descriptions of life on a cruise ship and lots of interesting characters - all of whom I want to know more about! Well done on an amazing debut novel and can't wait to find out what happens next....” 

Another said: “Throughly enjoyed reading this book, loved the characters and the in-site to what happens behind the glamour of a cruise ship, the hard work and goings on with the staff! Could have kept reading and look forward to the next one!” 

Eilidh began writing the novel 20 years ago soon after leaving the cruise ship industry but it was only when lockdown happened and she was furloughed that  she was able to complete the book.

She added: “If it wasn’t for lockdown, I think the book would still be sitting gathering digital dust on my C-drive.” 

“Life on board is so far from what I imagined and the characters that made up the crew were what inspired me to write about it.  Being in such confined spaces, life is hard enough, but if you don't get along with someone or you have a breakup onboard, it's all public knowledge and you just can't get away from it.  

“No, it's not autobiographical!  It's based on what I know about life and working onboard, but the book is not about me!  Although, like me, the main character she does have red hair and hails from Scotland.

“I’m just so happy people love the stories in the book as much as I do. It’s a big thing for me to put my work out there so to have such positive feedback from readers is a really great feeling.”

The book is available as an e-book on Amazon here