Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle – Kirsty Wark

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction

I’ll answer the most popular question first; Can Kirsty Wark write? The answer is yes, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle is well-written, has unusual but believable characters that include a passionate gardener, a Buddhist monk and a Duchess. The pace of this book, while leisurely, doesn’t feel as if it has been deliberately slowed down with unnecessary details.

Undoubtedly aimed at a female audience, the tale told is unusual where spinster Elizabeth Pringle leaves her home, Holmlea in Lamlash on the Isle of Arran, to a woman who asked her to contact her if she were ever to sell it. The letter was written some thirty years previously and Anna, the writer, is now suffering from dementia so her daughter Martha accepts the legacy on her behalf.

Elizabeth’s story begins at the start of World War I where the Isle of Arran had the judgement of the media for only sending one man to the front although they did load 80 horses to help with the war effort. This isn’t just the story about Elizabeth though, we also learn about her mother Izzy and her best friend the Duchess of Montrose.
This is a story told alternatively by Elizabeth, in the form of a memoir, and through Martha’s eyes in the present. I have to admit I preferred Elizabeth’s story of a long-life tinged with regrets and sadness to Martha’s contemporary struggle which contained the ubiquitous bad relationship, fraught relationship with her younger sister as well as her mother’s pressing illness. For me, Martha’s life sorted itself out a little too neatly for my liking with a string of instant friendships to help smooth the path for Martha to spend her time re-furbishing her new home and discover the truth about Elizabeth’s life.

The setting of the Isle of Arran was an inspired choice and I could easily picture this beautiful setting, more so when accompanied by descriptions of the sometimes harsh weather and sometimes small town claustrophobic feel.
An easy light read which has an almost soothing feel to it this books looks at the lives of ‘ordinary’ women and their ‘ordinary’ lives in a memorable setting.

Lamlash, Isle of Arran
Lamlash, Isle of Arran

I received a copy of this book from Amazon Vine in return for this honest review.