‘Braes, braw, bogles, ferntickles, and the excalamtion, 'Och!’ Fortunately the book also has a dictionary of Scottish words.
So at least you can understand every detail; even if you’ve never been to Galloway or the Isle of Arran, where the novel is set. This book follows the ‘Thorn in My Heart’ Scottish trilogy and sort of parallels the biblical story of Dinah; daughter of Jacob and Leah. If you don’t know the Bible story, this novel is a good overview of its narrative and themes; but it is a real heartbreaker even with its overall message of love, grace, and mercy. It gets straight into the story with bad news for Davina – the Dinah equivalent, who can only communicate by writing.
Set in the early 1800s, it’s not a good time to be a mute, Scottish or a woman. It’s an age when a clanswoman can be a political bargaining chip and always at the mercy of men. I don’t know why, but I sort of think that books written in a specific geographical setting should have a local voice, tone and sound; especially in the 'spoken' passages. I couldn’t make the speech work in a Scottish accent (or my version of one) like you can with Burns poems, or in a Welsh accent when you read Dylan Thomas. But the fault might be with my national stereotyping than Liz Curtis Higgs writing!
March 26th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison