When I saw that Kirsty Wark had written a novel, I was intrigued. What would this respectable, formidable presenter of Newsnight publish? The answer: a novel that’s a mixture of historical and romantic. Before I go on, I want to make it clear that although I’m not the target audience of this book, I’m going to be fair in my review.
The story focuses around the intertwined lives of two women- Elizabeth Pringle, who leaves her home to a woman she met briefly thirty-odd years before; and Martha, the woman’s daughter. The novel flips between Elizabeth’s memoirs and Martha in the present day. It’s a common enough premise for a story, but not at all what I was expecting.
I loved the story of Elizabeth- the parts where we went back to her memoirs were the bits I looked forward to most. Martha’s bits, with a predictable and not very exciting love story, were a bit dull. Martha is the type of safe heroine who turns up in your typical romance novel; she’s looking after an ailing mother (in this case, with dementia), she’s at a crossroads of her life, needs a big change and boom! A house on Arran fortuitously lands in her lap and comes complete with flirty American Buddhist monk and gruff head gardener.
While I found the character of Martha frustrating, I did find the book an easy, relaxing read at the end of a busy day. It’s not all bad and there is a bit of a twist at the end that’s slightly surprising. It might not be an instant classic, but it would be a good read for anyone who enjoys a romance-by-numbers with a feisty old lady thrown in.
*Sent from Bookbridgr for review