Book Review: Ruby Spencer’s Whisky Year by Rochelle Bilow

Posted February 15, 2023 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 37 Comments

Ruby Spencer's Whisky Year
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Rochelle Bilow
Publication Date February 14, 2023
Published by Penguin
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Genres: Fiction / Romance / General, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy, Fiction / Women
Pages: 368
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

One of...
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When a thirty-something American food writer moves to a Scottish village for one year to fulfill her dream of writing a cookbook she finds more than inspiration—she meets a handsome Scotsman she can’t resist.

Ruby Spencer is spending one year living in a small cottage in a tiny town in the Scottish Highlands for three reasons: to write a bestselling cookbook, to drink a barrelful of whisky, and to figure out what comes next. It’s hard to know what to expect after an impulse decision based on a map of Scotland in her Manhattan apartment—but she knows it’s high time she had an adventure.

The moment she sets foot in Thistlecross, the verdant scenery, cozy cottages, and struggling local pub steal her heart. Between designing pop-up suppers and conversing with the colorful locals, Ruby starts to see a future that stretches beyond her year of adventure. It doesn’t hurt that Brochan, the ruggedly handsome local handyman, keeps coming around to repair things at her cottage. Though Ruby swore off men, she can’t help fantasizing what a roll in the barley might be like with the bearded Scot.
As Ruby grows closer to Brochan and the tightly held traditions of the charming village, she discovers secret plans to turn her beloved pub into an American chain restaurant. Faced with an impossible choice, Ruby must decide between love, loyalty, and the Highlands way of life.

Ruby Spencer’s Whisky Year by Rochelle Bilow is a romantic comedy about a woman who leaves New York City and travels to a small Scottish village to write a cookbook.  

Story Recap:

Ruby Spencer left her job in New York City to move to Scotland for a year and write a cookbook.  She randomly decides to move to the small village of Thistlecross to spend her year writing a cookbook, drinking a barrel of whiskey, and figuring out what she wants to do with her life.  

She meets, Brochan, the village handyman and they are attracted to each other right away.  And when Ruby discovers that the charming village pub going to be sold to a developer with the intent of turning the pub into a Scottish-themed American-style chain restaurant. 

My Thoughts: 

First of all, the setting is gorgeous, and the author’s descriptions of Thistlecross and the surrounding area are spectacular.  If you never wanted to visit Scotland before, you will after reading Ruby Spencer’s Whiskey Year.  I also enjoyed all the whiskey references and although I am not an expert on Scotch Whiskey, I know enough about it to know the author had done her research.  

Ruby and Brochan are such a cute couple.  They had a slow-burn friends-to-lovers romance that allowed them to get to know each other before things got romantic.  Brochan was grumpy, but with a big heart.  Ruby was optimistic and mostly happy to be in Scotland once they got together, they had good chemistry that was built upon their friendship. 

I can’t end this review without talking about the side characters.  Thistlecross is a sweet village filled with interesting and quirky characters that add a lot of charm to the story.  


I highly recommend Ruby Spencer’s Whiskey Year to anyone who enjoys romance.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Rochelle Bilow

Rochelle Bilow is a romance writer, food writer, and writer writer. She is a graduate of The French Culinary Institute and has worked as a baker, a line cook, and the social media manager for Bon Appétit and Cooking Light magazines. Her articles about home cooking, restaurants, food news and trends, spirits, groceries, and products have been published in a variety of national publications, including: Eating Well, Food & Wine, Serious Eats, The Kitchn, and The Spruce Eats.

Rochelle’s first book, a romantic farming memoir titled The Call of the Farm, was published by The Experiment in 2014.

Ruby Spencer’s Whisky Year, her second book—and fiction debut—will be published by Berkley Romance in February 2023.

Have you read Ruby Spencers Whisky Year?

37 responses to “Book Review: Ruby Spencer’s Whisky Year by Rochelle Bilow

  1. I love a Scotland setting and quirky characters. This sounds a bit like a Hallmark movie, except maybe the barrelful of whiskey. 😁 I just checked and I was declined for this one. I still want to read it though. Great review, Wendy.

  2. beautyinthebinding

    I’m currently reading a book set in Scotland and the descriptions are so beautiful. Lovely review!

  3. Rachel @Waves of Fiction

    I have a copy of this one and I hope to get to it soon. I really want to visit Scotland so I’m happy to have it featured here to whet my appetite! Wonderful review, Wendy!

  4. masterspj

    I think I will have to add this to my TBR, it sounds like a fun read.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

  5. Besides the Scotland setting, this one is so high on my TBR! And you mentioned the side characters being good in this one, I’m sold! Must get my hands on it soon! Great review!

  6. I already would love to visit Scotland so I’m sure that if I would read this book I would wanna visit even more like you said. Sounds like an amazing setting indeed. And oh I love a slow burn friends to lovers romance. That sounds really so good!