This is the second in the trilogy A Scot’s Quair by Gibbons. I loved the first installment, Sunset Song. This book continues the life of Chris Guthrie Tavendale and her son Ewan following the end of WWI.
Chris marries a young minister from the Church of Scotland. The story moves from the rural life to village life. They settle in at the manse in Segget. So much has changed since the war. Socialism is taking root, the prosperity after the war is on the way down and poverty is terrible. There are unions and strikes. Class warfare. The war has changed people’s view of God and the church and we get a first hand look at the religious changes in Scotland at this time through the eyes of Chris, a non-believer, and her husband, Robert, the minister.
I was struck by the difference in the people from the rural landscape to the village. There seemed to be more nastiness in the village people than the rural. There didn’t seem to be that working together ethic. Maybe that was a sign of the times though and nothing to do with the landscape.
Chris is always looking inward at herself in these stories and views the different aspects of herself as different Chris’. It’s interesting to be inside her thoughts and see how she feels. The village of Segget seems to be against her and think she is smug and conceited. I don’t think she is at all. It’s a false perception of her. She is just a solitary person. She and Robert have a very loving, playful marriage and the village hates them for it. Robert was in the war and has some kind of medical condition from being gassed. He also has very dark moods and struggles with his own faith. Ewan is a delightful, confident, young ‘loon’, (boy) mesmerized with the history of the area and always out digging and looking for ‘relics’ of days gone by. He has a large collections of flints. He wants to go to college and become an archeologist.
|copy I’m reading|
Robert works tirelessly to bring change to the hearts of Segget. They fight against him all the way. He joins in the fight to break the union at the mill and helps organize the strike. It turns to violence and a group of men set out to blow up the railway bridge to cause a wreck of the train bringing the ‘blackleggers’ in to the mill and Robert has to get there in time to stop them. Chris fears for his life and sets out after him. Lots of drama!
The book ends on a very tragic and dramatic note and Chris must start again. She is in her 30’s by now and Ewan is in college. Looking forward to seeing if Chris finds lasting happiness and what Ewan does with his life in the last book.