The Clydesiders by Margaret Thomson Davis

#1 of a trilogy

  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.

Although I enjoyed learning about the socialist movement in Scotland in the early 1900’s and the setting of Glasgow, the writing in the book left me fairly unfulfilled in my reading. Not well developed. If it weren’t for the few sex scenes I would think it was written more for middle school kids. Left lacking in character development. The ending was to abrupt. I have one other book by her on my shelf and might read it at some point because it’s there, but I don’t think I’ll seek out more of this author.

John Maclean was a real person and the author used a book written by his daughter as reference for this book. He suffered severely for his beliefs. If you want to read more about him check it out here.

Peggy Ann


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