Born just before the First World War, Elizabeth Pringle has been a familiar yet solitary figure on the Scottish island of Arran. A dutiful daughter, an inspirational teacher, a gardener. But did anyone really know her? When Elizabeth dies, her will contains a surprise. She has left her home and her belongings to someone who is all but a stranger, a young mother she watched pushing a pram down the road more than 30 years ago. Now it falls to Martha, the baby in that pram, to find out how her mother inherited the house in such strange circumstances, and in doing so, perhaps leave her own past behind. But first she has to find the answer to the question: who was Elizabeth Pringle?
A captivating and haunting story of the richness beneath so-called ordinary lives and the secrets and threads that hold women together.
Dear Mrs Morrison,
A long time ago, almost thirty-four years past, you wrote to me requesting that I contact you should I ever wish to leave my home. I knew then that I would never live anywhere else, and so there was no point in my replying to you.
I saw you almost every day, pushing your pram along Shore Road. You looked very young. I remember that on one occasion you waved to me, and I think I tilted my head towards you. Perhaps you did not see. There have been times when that scene has come to me vividly, and I have wondered what has become of you both.
I am instructing my solicitor to write to you at the address on your letter. Holmlea is yours if you still wish it.
©2014 Black Pepper Media Ltd (P)2014 John Murray Press
I bought this audiobook from Audible on the rec. of Karen of Cornflower Books, whose taste I generally appreciate. In the long run, however, I found it uneven: in the beginning, it's too sad, with two parallel stories of women who are dealing with the inevitable losses of old age; then it becomes too predictable, with WWi and WWII stories that we've all heard before and miraculously "I knew he was The One" relationships; it winds up with a big helping of "spooky-wooky" "I could feel her spirit near me" intimations and that revelation of the hidden secret that we had no idea had existed from the very beginning of the tale. So. I guess I'd say that there are some interesting/lovely aspects of the story, and the narration is beautifully done. However, my "okay" rating remains. Overall, it became an annoying book.
*Reader was great, though Saul's "American accent" grated a bit.
Though the narration was excellent and the author demonstrates a fine command of the language, the story rambled with no point. The main character Elizabeth could have been anyone with a story that simply did not matter. Elizabeth's "tragedy" did not lead to any moment of self-awareness. The plot dragged to a conclusion with no point.
The parallel contemporary story was equally pointless with characters that were neither compelling nor unique.
Once I started listening, I could not stop. Before I knew it the book was done but not before there there a few twists and turns. I enjoyed the thorough descriptions in the author made of the island, the people and their seemingly ordinary lives, which were not so ordinary underneath. I look forward to more by this author.
Clever, complex and insightful
The secret behind the bathroom door
I could empathise with the attachment to place, the anticipation of motherhood and connecting with your roots.
Captivating, Believable. Absorbing
Towards the very beginning when the solicitors letter is read
A distinction between the younger and older characters vocally without false voices
Yes it was but I have actually listened to it twice already the alternation of characters is great
If you have wondered about this title or perhaps put it in your wish list give it a go
"Why should a house be left to your mother?"
This was an enjoyable listen with just enough intrigue with comforting predictability. A beautiful story of love and loss spread over the generations. The characters evoked empathy and developed throughout the story. Beautiful narration by Siobhan Redmond. Great first novel, will look for the next by Kirsty Wark.
"Fantastic Book - loved it!!"
I absolutely loved this book. It kept me intrigued from the very beginning to the very end. Beautifully written, with truely excellent narration. The plot tells the 'historical' story of Elizabeth Pringle, and concurrently the story of those who inherit her legacy. If you are interested in family history, and the extraordinary hidden histories of everyday people then this may be the book for you. For me this is probably the best audio book I have listened to in the last 12 months, and i listen to a lot. I can't recommend it enough. Download without delay, but make sure you have the whole day to listen because you won't want to turn it off once you start!!
I loved the whole story, every word, it is beautifully written and obviously Kirsty knows Arran well. It brought back lovely memories of my own time on Arran as a child.
A truly wonderful story of the special bonds between mothers and daughters and of love and how fate brings the characters together despite being of different generations and never meeting.
Elizabeth, who deals with her experiences of love and loss with such dignity and grace, you cannot help but bond with the character.
Beautifully narrated, I was dubious about listening to the story rather than reading it myself but she truly brought the characters to life for me.
I don't think it should be made into film, these characters are best left to the imagination.
A truly wonderful read, it had me smiling, crying and gasping with surprise - brilliant and I cannot wait until Kirsty Wark writes another.
A perfect mix of romance, new starts and lost opportunities - both sad and satisfying. I loved Siobhan Redman's voice. I smiled and cried but was glad to have heard it.
"Excellent read, intriguing story"
The way it was told swapping between Martha and Elizabeth's stories but never becoming confusing
All of the characters were strong and likable but I think I liked Mary the best
Yes but, unfortunately, life gets in the way!
I would thoroughly recommend this audio book....hours of good listening and a thoroughly enjoyable story
Enjoyable story, enhanced greatly by the really beautiful narration by Siobhan Redmond. I don't know if I would have enjoyed it so much without her expressive and sensitive reading.
"Charming Moving Story"
A charming story telling the tale of the late Elizabeth Pringle and her life on Aran intertwined with the present day life of Martha Morrison who has inherited the house.
Beautifully and sympathetically read by Siobhan Redmond. .
I liked everything about this book - performance is good, story is good, all in all, thoroughly enjoyable listen.
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