When She Was Electric is an evocative portrait of a family and a small town torn apart by losses. At the heart of this subtle, textured novel is a wrenching disruption - the death of a young girl in a sleepy town. The book tells the story of three generations of women: the resourceful grandmother who turned unwanted land into a thriving enterprise; the daughters, ethereal Min and bold Nellie, who grew up challenging polite conventions; and Ana, the granddaughter who embodies the hopes - and secrets - of this formidable matriarchy.
In 1918, rainy Dundee is nearly emptied of men. The Great War has left the town’s women both newfound freedom and servitude. They toil in the deadly jute mills, taking in the children of perished family members and praying their own bodies - and spirits - do not fail them too. A grateful widow of the war, Morag shelters her daughters as best she can: beautiful Caro schemes to escape the working class with well-calculated seduction, while Wallis works in the mill alongside her mother, slowly fortifying both spirit and pocketbook for a more radical departure.
"I really wanted to like this"