Archives for historical novels

Book review: Gone are the Leaves

I had a shaky start with this book by Anne Donovan. It is written in Scottish dialect which I could simply not ‘hear’ in my head. The thought of reading a whole book in this language was intimidating so when I got to the first, short section in the voice of the music master I welcomed it with relief. I kept having to stop and re-read a sentence, to work out what it said. I persevered, and the voice slowly started to settle in my ear. I’m glad I didn’t give up but I’m not convinced about the wisdom of writing 80% of the book in dialect. I fear a lot of readers will be lost along the way. A young French boy meets a young Scottish girl. Deirdre is a seamstress at a laird’s house in Scotland. “My father was neither owermuckle nor poor, and we were all in the service of our Laird and His Lady one way or anither, our lives thirled to theirs.” She is destined to use her skills in the convent embroidering church vestments. Feilamort is an orphan who can sing like an angel. Both must make difficult decisions about their futures. She is
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