Publisher: Two Roads
Publication Date: 19th March 2020
I hadn’t read any Sally Magnusson before even though I own a copy of The Sealwoman’s Gift and have heard countless good things about it but when I saw The Ninth Child was coming out this year and it had Faery vibes I knew it would be for me.
1856 in Glasgow and Isabel Aird wife of Dr Alexander Aird is less than happy about the fact that her husband has been planning to get involved in the building of a new water works in the Scottish Highlands.
Glasgow has many issues with polluted water due to the poor living conditions and Dr Aird wants to put his medical skills to good use at the building of the water works in Loch Katrine. One of the main reasons he wants to feel helpful and needed is that Isabel is struggling to take a pregnancy to full term and he feels powerless to help her.
Isabel is almost numb with the grief of losing her 6 children up to the point that she begrudgingly moves to the highlands with Alexander. However once she’s there in the countryside beside the beautiful Loch Katirne she starts to see signs from her lost children and feels a connection to them despite going on to lose two more.
Isabel spends her days walking and thinking and one day chances upon a strange man who introduces himself as Reverend Robert Kirke. Robert is an episcopalian minister who died in….wait for it…..1692. Yes! Robert is no ordinary man, although he once was many many years ago. Robert wrote a book about the myths and legends of the Faery world and it is believed that he was taken by the fae at the time of his death and now he roams the earth in his quest for peace. What he is desperate for is to find his final resting place.
He has an extremely strong interest in Isabel. Particularly when she once again falls pregnant. But what is the lure and what fate will befall Isobel?
I absolutely devoured this book! not least because it is set in Victorian times (my favourite time period as you know!). I also really love anything remotely linked to the dark world of the Fae. There is a beautifully delicate balance between the realist narrative and the magical narrative in this story and I think this lends itself well to having a little something for everyone.
Another wonderful addition to this tale was the inclusion of chapters surrounding Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their opening of the works. I love it when ‘real’ people from history are almost re-imagined by the author and we get an albeit fictitious peep behind the curtain. I was delighted to encounter these chapters, they really were a joy to read.
Sally Magnusson’s writing is just beautiful, stunning prose and perfect depictions of the glorious Scottish landscape. There is a real sense of place throughout this story and Sally expertly transports you to the Scottish highlands.
The perfect blend of fact and fiction, this book is captivating and a brilliant book to get your hands on, particularly during these very confusing and troubled times. A little something to whisk you away from real life and I couldn’t recommend it more.
Thank you to the publisher for my copy to review.
See you all soon.
Amanda – Bookish Chat xx