Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lochinvar: A Book Review

A delightful novel I did not want to put down.


Samuel Rutherford Crockett

TYPE/GENRE: Historical fiction
LENGTH: 412 pgs.
RATING: 10 out of 10
READ ALOUD:    4 out of 5
SOURCES: Project Gutenberg

When Covenanter Kate McGhie arrives in Holland to stay with his cousins, exiled Walter Gordon, Lord of Lochinvar, falls in love with her immediately.  But Kate has not forgotten the incident that induced her to send him away a few years before.  She resists his apology and pleading.  Sore of heart, he goes from her a second time, resolved to prove himself worthy of her love.

But the errand Wat is sent on proves more dangerous than he could have imagined.  Wat is plunged into intrigue and treachery... and his life is at stake.  Meanwhile, Kate realizes how much she loves the young man she originally deemed false.

Escaping, Wat simply exchanges one hair-raising adventure for another.  For my Lord of Barra has seen Kate, and is determined to marry her... and he will let nothing stop him from reaching his goal.

With Kate kidnapped and Wat in prison, their case seems hopeless.  But true love never gives up....

My review:
Project Gutenberg has many gems hiding on its 'bookshelves'.  This one turned up in my 'Recently Added Ebooks' feed several months ago.  Sir Walter Scott's poem Lochinvar is one of my top ten favorite poems.  I memorized it when I was... around ten, I think, and taught it to some of my younger siblings years ago and it's time now to teach it to the rest of my siblings.  I have had two different ideas for stories based on the poem and years ago I even started a play based on it, which my siblings and I acted out scene by scene as I finished writing them.  Our favorite scene to act out (and one of the few completed scenes) was the wedding scene.  Lots of running around and yelling and hollering. :D  Naturally, upon seeing this title, I grew excited and wondered if someone else had written a novelization of the poem.  I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle, but only last week finally read it.

Was it based on the poem?  Yes and no.  The poem did influence the book, as evidenced by two chapters near the end ('Lochinvar Keeps Tryst' and 'The Bride's Loving-cup' if you are curious).  But it is never referenced and if you don't know the poem, you can still enjoy the story and not be missing anything.

I loved this story, and will definitely be re-reading it.  It is similar in style and tone to a Sir Walter Scott, but it has its own unique 'voice'.  I read it in two days, snatching a few moments here and there between canning and other work.  I did not want to put it down.  Wat and Kate are well-written characters and I eagerly looked forward to how their story would end.

Favorite minor or secondary characters...
Maisie: She is sweet, kind and understanding.  My favorite moment of Maisie's is when she stands up to Barra and her husband, telling them in no uncertain terms that Wat's folly was due to the harshness of something she and Kate said to him.  My second favorite moment would have to be in the Epilogue.  Read it and you'll know what I mean.

Jack Scarlett:
I laughed every time he came on the page.  His incessant grumbling is hilarious, and his loyalty to Wat is terrific.

Little Marie:
What a poignant thread in the story.  Little Marie, taken advantage of, mistreated, but when Wat is kind to her, what a change!  I love everything she does after leaving the inn to follow Wat in misfortune.  She knew that Wat's heart lay elsewhere and he could never love her in the way she loved him, but she unselfishly helped him anyway.  Her storyline definitely has shades of Eponine, so how could I not love her?

Jean Gordon:
Every person should have a housekeeper or nanny like her.  Seriously.  Her best moment was in scheming with the priest to help Wat.

Jan Pettigrew and Mehitabel:
Comic relief, especially in the chapters 'Wise Jan Becomes Even Wiser' and 'Love and Pignuts'.

I give this a rating of ten out of ten and would readily recommend it to anyone, especially someone who likes Scotland and Scottish history.   I give it a read aloud rating of four, because I would not read it to younger children, but children aged thirteen and up should have no problem with it.  This is the first book I have read by this author but I will now be looking for more of his books.

Miss Melody Muffin


  1. This was a REALLY good book!!!!!!! Thank for introducing me to it!!!!!!!

    Maisie is SOOO cool!!!!!!! That scene when she stands up to Barra and Will is amazing!!!!

    Jack Scarlett was HILARIOUS!!!!!!!! I laughed every time he showed up too!! I love his loyalty to Wat!!! It is terrific!!!

    Little Marie was Sweet but SOOO sad!!!!

    I LOVED Jean Gordan. The Priest tied with her for favorite for me!!!!

    Jan and Mehitabel were SOOOO funny!!!

    It was really good and 'My Lord Barra' was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO BAD

  2. okay, so I just finished this book. it was amazingly fantastic and I loved it :)


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