Every Tuesday Diane over @Bibliophile By the Sea host First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where we share the first paragraph sometimes two from a book we’re reading or thinking about reading soon.
Isn’t that a lovely cover! I love it! Katrina gave me this book while I was at her house in Scotland last May. I’ve decided to read this next instead of the Aline Templeton book because the Templeton book is on my iPad and I’ll save it for the last of the year as we will be moving then and it will be easier to lug around books in ebook format than this large hardback.
In the summer of 1914, as the storm clouds of war begin to gather over Europe, life in Glasgow goes on as normal – for the rich in their elegant mansions, and for the poor in the filthy, overcrowded tenements of the Gorbals.
Up at Hilltop House, home of the wealthy cartwright family, Virginia Watson is a kitchen maid whose life below stairs is an endless round of hardship and drudgery. Back in the Gorbals, her family are fighting a losing battle against bad housing, hunger and disease, while her father and brothers, unable to find work, dream of the revolution that John Maclean and the other ‘Red Clydesiders’ promise will be their salvation.
Everything changes for Virginia after a chance meeting with Nicholas Cartwright, a dashing young army officer and heir to the Cartwright fortune. But their illicit romance, defying all the conventions of the time, has hardly begun when war breaks out and Nicholas leaves to face the horrors of the Western Front.
A powerful tale of love and loss, The Clydesiders is also a brilliant portrayal of Glasgow during the First World War, skillfully evoking the atmosphere of the city and the lives of its people as they witness some of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century.
Virginia Watson wasn’t allowed to be seen, far less talk to anyone-upstairs, that was. Down in the basement kitchen, talk was permitted to a certain extent. High up under the rafter, in the attic bedroom with Fanny Gordon, the scullery maid, she could talk as long as she could keep awake. Fanny didn’t call it their bedroom. To her it was a dark and dismal cell. Fourteen-year-old Fanny, who was two years younger than Virginia and now shared the lumpy iron bedstead with her, had come from a cottage. There she had slept in an attic with her three sisters.
‘All right, we were crowded top-to-tail in the one bed, but the attic there was bright and cosy. At night we had two candles. Not like here! Mrs. Cartwright must have pots of housekeeping money, and fancy, she’s had gas put in all her rooms, but we’ve to make do with one wee candle.’ Fanny pouted. ‘Rotten mean, that’s what ugly old Mrs. Cartwright is. I hate her, so I do.’
What do you think, keep reading or not?
‘No, James. Not tonight.’
‘I’ve been looking forward to this all day. It’s all that’s kept me going. Coming home to you.’
She was barely able to whisper, ‘All right.’
Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B @ A Daily Rhythm. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you’re reading. No spoilers, please!