review written and read live on the bookshow by Brian Lowen 23rd October 2014
I do sometimes find it quite hard to realise that the chap we see on the TV talking to us about all things concerning gardening can sit down and write such good novels. Some people may think them a bit trite but I always thoroughly enjoy them and have read every one of his books. I have noticed how the stories have got better and have more depth now than his first few books. He builds up his characters well and puts them in interesting situations.
This story involves young Charlie Stuart and his friend Gordon Mackenzie who are room-mates at Egglestone Academy, a boarding school in Scotland. Charlie is the heir to Castle Sodhail which sits on an estate bordering Loch Sodhail. Charlie’s Father is the Laird and when his wife dies suddenly, Charlie returns home to help run the estate. He invites his friend Gordon, down for the holidays and he gets quite sweet on Eleanor, Charlie’s lifelong friend from the big house on the other side of the loch. Eleanor plays along because she wants to make Charlie jealous because she loves no one but him.
redecorated it to her own tastes and persuades her husband to move from the castle to a house in Edinburgh where there is more social life for her to enjoy.
This means that Charlie is now the Laird, but still only in his early twenties, and having to shoulder the burden of running the estate, organising shooting and fishing parties, and looking after the holiday lets. He has the gillie to help him, Murdo, who has been working on the estate for years, and lives with his wife in a small cottage near the castle on the side of the Loch.
It would spoil the story for the reader if I went any further, but would just say that we follow Charlie through the years, and share his joys and his heartaches.