Saturday, 23 December 2017

In Loving Memory by Jenny Telfer Chaplin

In Loving Memory by Jenny Telfer Chaplin
Published by Endeavour Press in September 2013.

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Took advantage of a free Amazon download

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Glasgow, in the early nineteenth century. Times are hard, and the the streets are crowded with desperate and starving people. Amid poverty and strife, an insurrection known as the Radical War is about to start and two women's lives will be changed forever. 

Maggie and Sheena are both fighting for the same man. Maggie is left with child by her unwanted seducer, and is forced by her family into an arranged marriage with Fergus to cover up the scandal. Fergus leaves his young sweetheart Sheena broken-hearted and in a similarly precarious position. Distraught she turns to Fergus’s brother Rab for comfort. Against the backdrop of turmoil and revolt, Maggie and Sheena must fight to remain true to their hearts. 

In Loving Memory appealed to me because of its setting - Glasgow at the time of the Radicals - which I didn't know much about. Unfortunately, I still don't know much because, while historical events such as the Radicals and the Bread Riots are namedropped, they are not explained. Most of the novel's convoluted plot takes place in our protagonists' homes where two-dimensional characters argue frequently and, again, without much background given so I found it difficult to understand the whys of many decisions. They speak in a phonetically spelt Scots brogue that took a little getting used to, but does at least add some atmosphere. However my main gripe is the device of huge events happening to our characters off the page. At one point a chapter ends with a family boarding a ship, then the next chapter starts five years after the shipwreck. Hello? What shipwreck?!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Jenny Telfer Chaplin / Historical fiction / Books from Scotland

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