BOOK REVIEW for The BACK UP PLAN by Elsie McArthur

the back up plan


I was contacted by the author, Elsie McArthur, recently and she very kindly sent me a copy of her book The Back Up Plan to read and review.


Giving up? Or moving on?That’s the question for thirty-something Marsaili McKenzie. Ten years after fleeing her tiny coastal village for dreams of fame and fortune in the big city, she finds herself on the brink of an existential crisis. Far from being the star actress she once imagined, she’s still working as a barmaid in a Glasgow theatre while all around her, her friends and family are getting engaged, pregnant or promoted.It’s all she can do to keep her head above water. But as a new year approaches, she resolves to give her acting dreams one last shot. That is, until a couple of unexpected distractions arrive on the scene.Will Hunter is undeniably handsome, as well as being aloof, socially awkward, posh and in the middle of a nasty divorce. And to make things even more complicated, he’s also her new boss.Local boy made good, soap star Euan Campbell, is the epitome of a charismatic leading man. His easy-going charm soon sweeps Marsaili off her feet, but is there more to him than meets the eye?To top it all off, Marsaili finds herself inexplicably drawn back to the simple, rural life she used to loathe. Can she finally figure out which dreams are worth pursuing, and would it really be so bad to resort to her back up career after all?Join Marsaili as she navigates the choppy seas of love, family, friendship and self-discovery. This heart-warming novel is full of romance, laughter and more than enough drama to keep you on the edge of your seat!


the back up plan inscription



It’s always lovely to find a new author and this debut novel from Elsie McArthur is a warm-hearted and very readable romance novel.

It’s not a genre I read a lot of, so for me, I went in not knowing what to really expect.  What I discovered was a lovely warm, witty and enjoyable read.

Our main character, Marsaili, is drifting along some what in life, awaiting for an opportunity to kick start her acting career.  However, it has been a number of years now and there haven’t been that many jobs, well hardly any at all!  Working in the bar of a local theatre, in the city of Glasgow, she lives in a rented house from her friend from university.

Originally from a small village in the Highlands, we also meet her family who still live there as she makes trips back home, and we are introduced to two new love interests, who couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried.

For me a romance novel needs believable characters and the author really succeeds here.  Warm, funny, sincere, I really became invested in Marsaili, wanting things to turn out well for her.  The author also has a very natural style of writing and this really brought the story to life.  It was delightful to lose myself for a couple of hours, in amongst the characters, each time I picked up the book and I really needed to find out if all turns out well.  Not just for Marsaili but for everyone.

There is also some beautifully described countryside, even with the cold and wet weather of winter, and her trips back home have a wonderful sense of place.  These parts really made it a book to curl up with.

A warm and friendly novel that is also a quick and engaging read.  One to lose yourself in, especially at the moment.

The Back Up Plan is out now, and available to buy from Amazon as both a paperback and kindle read, which is currently a bargain at just 99p!  Thank you Elsie for sending me a copy.  I really enjoyed it and wish you all the best with your book.







Elsie McArthur is an independent author of women’s fiction. After studying law at university, and then re-training as a primary school teacher, she now lives in the Highlands of Scotland with her husband, two kids, a couple of badly behaved dogs and a cat with a superiority complex. As well as continuing to work part time as a teacher, she is now indulging in her first love of writing. Her first book, ‘The Back Up Plan’, was released in January 2020. Her second novel, ‘Love, on the Rocks’ – a tale of love, loss and starting over set on the remote Scottish island of Inniscreag – is due for release in Summer 2020.


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