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The House by the Loch

Narrated by: Siobhan Redmond
Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Summary

From the best-selling author of The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, a novel of long-hidden family secrets that refuse to lie buried in the past.... 

Scotland, 1950s. Walter MacMillan is bewitched by the clever, glamorous Jean Thompson and can't believe his luck when she agrees to marry him. Neither can she, for Walter represents a steady and loving man who can perhaps quiet the demons inside her. Yet their home on remote Loch Doon soon becomes a prison for Jean, and neither a young family nor Walter's care can seem to save her.  

Many years later, Walter is with his adult children and adored grandchildren on the shores of Loch Doon, where the family has been holidaying for two generations. But the shadows of the past stretch over them and will turn all their lives upside down on one fateful weekend.  

The House by the Loch is the story of a family in all its loving complexity and the way it can, and must, remake itself endlessly in order to make peace with the past.  

©2019 Black Pepper Media Ltd (P)2019 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic reviews

"A deeply satisfying work of pure imagination...sweeping and intimate." (Damian Barr, author of You Will Be Safe Here)

"Beautiful and atmospheric." (Alistair Moffatt, author of The Hidden Ways)  

"Powerful and compelling." (Sue Lawrence, author of The Night He Left)

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Heavy Going

I chose this audiobook because I I'd read and enjoyed The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle' and I'm always drawn to fiction set in Scotland / across generations so on paper this was right up my street. I certainly loved the setting and felt Kirsty Wark's love for it. However I struggled to get into 'The House By The Loch' and nearly gave up many times. It was really only when I got to the most tragic event (predictable though it was) about a third of the way through that I decided I would finish it. I felt that Kirsty often regurgitated too much information in her descriptions so they felt very long-winded. It seemed more like a non-fiction book at times. Secondly despite the tragic events, I didn't particularly feel empathy for the characters and they felt a bit genteel. I would have liked more exploration of their innermost thoughts. For example I would have preferred for Jean to explore her own thoughts at the time rather than for them to be revealed in the form of letters towards the end. I also thought that the fishermen characters who were used to reveal Carson's view of the future made the ending feel clunky.
In terms of the performance, Siobhan Redmond is an excellent actress but I found her children's voiced hugely irritating.
I think Kirsty Ward is an intelligent writer and her style of this writing is to be admired but I found this book heavy going.

1 person found this helpful

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Epic

Beautiful beautiful book. Epic family saga, the healing trans-generational traumas, life continuing when it feels too awful to go on, how time and sharing can eventually bring a peace, so although you’ll cry reading or listening to this, it is also uplifting. Thank you Kirsty Wark x

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful prose!

Kirsty caught the wonderful nature of the Scottish Highlands and the people who live there.
I shed many tears whilst reading this book, but nonetheless the characters and situations were so realistic that I could not but love the story. I intend to buy a copy to lend to friends.
It is a long time since I read Kirsty’s first novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, which also held me in thrall, this latest one has been worth waiting for and I do hope there will be another soon.