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Review of The Borrowed Hills by Scott Preston

Updated: Apr 8

The Borrowed Hills is one of John Murrays’ leading 2024 titles and I can absolutely see why - the writing is exceptional, visceral, visual and atmospheric. The Borrowed Hills is set in Cumbria during the beginning of the foot-and-mouth crisis and explores how it hit those who built their lives on farming livestock. The Borrowed Hills is told from the experiences of neighbouring farmers, Steve and William, as they navigate this difficult time from burning their sheep to understanding what it means to be farmers post foot-and-mouth alongside the tensions rising in the community. The emotion that seeps from the pages of this book intoxicated me immediately, due to the shocking and life-changing events that left the people and their livelihoods debilitated.

This book also demonstrated how those affected came together to re-establish themselves during the harshness of their trauma (although there were characters that also showed the strain others within the faming sector felt). The impact of foot-and-mouth has been forgotten in our history, but this powerful literary novel brings the events to the forefront of readers’ minds in an emotionally crashing and thought-provoking manner which is personal to the writer themselves. 

Reviewed by Danielle.

The Borrowed Hills will be published on 11/04/24 by John Murrays.

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