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Customer Review

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars On Newsnight Tonight: Mills and Boon Shocker, 20 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle (Hardcover)
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Picking up this novel by Kirsty Wark my expectations were quite high. A book from the pen of the presenter of Newsnight and The Review Show would surely be intelligent, original and sharp-witted. Certainly the foundations on which the story is based with its emphasis on strong women characters spanning three generations, a focus on the richness and complexity of what initially appear ordinary lives and a location in the atmospheric setting of the Isle of Arran bode well. The plot itself concerns a young woman Martha whose mother is bequeathed a house on Arran out of the blue and her subsequent efforts to learn more about the mystery benefactor’s life, one Elizabeth Pringle, and its connections to her own. So far, so good-but the way Wark develops these initially promising beginnings is a considerable disappointment. One of the biggest problems is her characterization or rather the lack of it. None of the main protagonists ever become more than vehicles of the plot or take on a life of their own as they do in great works of fiction. Then there is the story itself told in chapters alternating between Elizabeth and Martha’s lives which is ridiculously neat with every event following on seamlessly aided by convenient coincidences and each main character ending up with who they should end up with. Which brings me to my biggest complaint about the book-Wark wants demonstrate than behind the mask of a conventional and conservative old lady can often lurk great passion both intellectual and sexual-a perceptive observation, but conveyed in some of the least convincing and gushing prose I have read in many years. Some of the love scenes are as sugary as Mills and Boon and the imagery truly cringe worthy. One reads on expecting to find more depth of observation and more interesting developments, but it never comes and there is no escaping the fact that one would have expected much more of a book from this woman.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Mar 2014 12:30:16 GMT
I am trying hard to avoid the M&B comparison in my own review, but fear I might fail. I'm so glad someone else feels the same.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Mar 2014 17:52:18 GMT
I am glad we agree about the book-but it seems we are in the minority! I would love to have seen this book discussed by a panel of critics on The Review Show! (chaired by Kirsty Wark!!)

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Apr 2014 14:11:11 BDT
DAVID BRYSON says:
LOL!

Posted on 6 Jul 2014 15:27:11 BDT
cecilia s says:
I couldn't agree more with this review of Kirsty Wark's The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle. I too had high hopes of a gripping and intelligent story and was bitterly disappointed. I love the Isle of Arran and the background of the historical events which took place there, particularly during WW11, were very interesting, but even this didn't retrieve the book for me. It could have been such a wonderful story and the premise was so inviting, but sadly it was, as this reviewer remarks, a 'Mills and Boon' read.
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