Devorgilla Days is Kathleen Hart’s inspiring memoir about moving to Wigtown in south-west Scotland pretty much on the spur of the moment following serious illness. One of the author’s mantras is to ‘make room for the magic’ and she has certainly done that as we read in the book.
From the back of the book
This is a story about uncovering the things that really matter, and discovering what makes us feel alive. It is a story about finding that inner strength and resilience, and never giving up hope.
Eight years ago, Kathleen Hart was diagnosed with breast cancer. Further complications led to a protracted recovery and months spent in hospital, where Kathleen had to learn how to walk again. While recuperating, she came across a small whitewashed cottage for sale in Wigtown, Scotland. Driving hundreds of miles on nothing more than a few photographs and an inkling, she bought it that very same day, and named it Devorgilla after the formidable 13th century Scottish princess.
Devorgilla Days is the story of how Kathleen left behind her old life to begin again in Scotland’s book capital. From renovating her cottage to exploring the seemingly quiet, but actually bustling town, she encounters a whole community of book lovers, beekeepers, artists and writers – and Lobster Fishermen. Kathleen starts wild swimming, a ritual that brings peace and clarity to her mind as her body heals. And, with the support of her virtual worldwide community who know her as PoshPedlar on Instagram, she rebuilds her life again.
Heartwarming and deeply moving, Devorgilla Days is an inspiring tale of one woman’s remarkable journey, a celebration of community, and a call-to-arms for anyone who has ever dreamt of starting over.
Kathleen Hart has a really engaging style of writing which made this book a pleasure to read. I was struck and in awe really about how brave she was. Not only had she faced serious illness followed by several life-threatening and life-changing setbacks, she then chose to relocate to quite a remote part of Scotland, to a cottage which needed a huge amount of renovation. That takes some courage.
Both Kathleen and cottage healed together. I could see that. There were so many coincidences and connections between her life and the cottage or village. For example, the doctor who discovered a cure for one of the author’s rare conditions was born in Wigtown. In fact, she was born in a house standing on ground once belong to the real Devorgilla, a strong willed Scottish princess from the 13th century. The author had named her cottage Devorgilla Cottage in her honour, hoping that she would have the same strength and determination. It was obviously meant to be.
I’m reasonably familiar with the Wigtown area having holidayed there a few times. I enjoyed reading more about the various shops and businesses which I recognised. It did make me smile that the author refers to Wigtown as a northern town. To me, it’s a southern town. It’s quite far into the south of Scotland for me anyway 😊
The whole of the Wigtown community sounds so warm, welcoming and supportive. From the beekeeping club, to the Gaelic class, to the Knit and Natter group, it just sounds like a lovely, lovely place to live. If ever I was to move, I’d be seriously tempted to look at a wee cottage in Wigtown. As Kirsty Wark says on the front of the book, we all need a Devorgilla Cottage in our hearts. I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully written memoir and am full of admiration for the strength and resilience of Kathleen Hart.
My thanks to Xanthe at Two Roads Books for sending me a copy for review.
Devorgilla Days is available now in all formats
About the Author
Kathleen Hart was educated at a convent school in Cheshire before experimenting with various occupations from air hostess to antiques dealer, but her favourite so far is author. She does her best writing in a whitewashed cottage in Scotland where she keeps bees, swims in the sea and every day encourages thousands of her PoshPedlar Instagram followers to ‘make room for the magic’.