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on 1 August 2017
Set in a stunning location this story has several strands that intertwine. Differing types of relationships between mothers and daughters are portrayed; the sadness of dementia, a broken engagement, the healing of a troubled relationship between sisters and most of all Elizabeth Pringle's life of stoicism plus two love affairs. And so much more. An excellent book.
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on 25 March 2014
I had been looking forward to this, as I admire Kirsty Wark and wondered what kind of novel she would write. I wasn't disappointed, though it is not the kind of thing I usually read. I'm immobile with a broken leg at present, so I read it at one sitting, and glad I did. There are definitely too many adjectives in it, and too many adverbs, but I forgive her that. And the chaps are impossible, with their craggy features and burning eyes, but you want that in a good chick-lit read. But I cried, several times. The relationship between the sisters is done well, and so is the gardening. Also the period detail - I was that hippy mum, at least for a while! The Isle of Arran, where I have never been, is a place I shall visit before I am much older. I'll give my copy to my mother, or maybe even buy her one! I liked the alternating chapters with different voices, but they were too short - just as you were enjoying one you had to jump to the other. Like all good Brit fiction it is about houses not love. But please - how could Martha, the daughter of the woman who actually inherited the house, just move in and take over, without even showing it to her mother or apparently telling her about it, and without consulting her sister, and not be hated by her entire family? Or are Scottish families different in that respect? Oh wait - her sister does hate her, and you can see why, even before the inheritance, but then comes back into the orbit. Odd. I wonder why Wark did that? It doesn't seem necessary.
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on 9 April 2014
This is a book I couldn't put down but also didn't want to end. I loved the descriptions of the two women's lives - beautifully described and the detail was perfect. This was a fascinating book from the historical and locational aspect. Arran comes to life in it and is a character in the book in it's own right. She draws you into the characters so well and you want to get to know them better. This is a book for all who loved Elizabeth Goudge, Miss Read, Rosamund Pilcher and Elizabeth Jane Howard. I have been recommending the book to all my friends and will continue to do so. Amazing for a first novel and I can't wait to read more from Kirsty Wark.
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on 13 April 2015
An enjoyable read which captures the love for home - the house, the landscape, the locals and, at the centre, the mother - but which results in other lost opportunities. The love interest of Niall was a bit two-dimensional and the meeting with Catriona was 'remarkably' fortunate which is why I haven't given 5 stars but the style of writing, switching between first person for Elizabeth's chapters alternating with third person, was very effective. The mystery of unearthing Elizabeth's past is unravelled for us and the other characters at the same time as it gathered pace towards the end which had me unable to put the book down - a page turner definitely & a good read with an unusual subject and structure which both worked well.
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on 28 December 2014
If I could give this review more starts I would!!

It was a beautifully written story, and if truth be told, I wasn't expecting much, but Kirsty drafted me in from the first page, right up until the very last and tears flowed.

It wasn't a predictable story as so many fiction books of this nature so often are. It was like we were there watching it all happen. I envy writers who can do that. The story was set not far from me, so I was able to imagine its surroundings.

I found I was more inclined to read than to hoover, so apologies to the household for a not so tidy house!

I cannot wait for her next book, I will be in line to buy it.

Some reviews give too much away, don't read them, just buy it, you'll be glad you did!

Thank you Kirsty :-)
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on 28 October 2014
An interesting and captivating read. Two story lines and some complex issues including dementia , relationships , and friendships are explored. The two main characters , Elizabeth and Martha , are well depicted and the reader empathises with the dilemmas they face. As the story progresses gradually the real Elizabeth Pringle is revealed through both storylines . Martha's detective work is quite fascinating. An unusual story and setting with an unexpected surprise towards the end make this book a particularly enjoyable read.
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on 21 October 2014
This is a beautiful book and a real tribute to Scotland and more specifically to Arran. It leaves me with a tremendous desire to visit Arran and follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth and Martha walking in the forest glens, mountains and beaches they visited soaking up the atmosphere of this special island. Wark not only describes the wonderful wildlife from 'oyster catchers skittering over the water', 'ringed plovers sounding the alarm' and 'the distant chirrup of sandpipers' but also the wild garlic and the springy heather and the rare rock whitebeam. She has introduced me to artists, architects and musicians. She has taught me the names of different types of rhododendron. She has enabled me to see the two world wars from a different perspective and so much more. It has been a thoroughly enriching experience. I can not wait until her next novel.
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on 11 February 2017
Loved this book. It brought back a lot of memories for me in that I spent summer holidays in the Isle of Arran and could relate to the places. This was recommended to me by my best friend. Great read. Would like to know though if there is a follow up to this book by Kirsty Wark. Great read.
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on 24 August 2017
Thank you Kirsty Wark for this beautiful,, intricately woven tale. I was entranced and yet connected so I intimately with Elizabeth and Martha through your compassionate telling of their stories. This is a must read book, just remember your hankies.
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on 28 January 2015
Loved this book. The Characters seemed very believable. Story takes place on Isle of Arran, (which I know) so It was easy to picture the descriptions that Kirsty Wark gave us of the various places in the story.
The story gently unfolded as the Characters were introduced to us, then It went off at a cracking pace, until there was a real surprise at the end. I just didnt see it coming. I read this over Christmas week (never watched much T.V) . Absolutely loved this book. Well done Kirsty, I am looking forward to your next book.
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