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The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

October 2014 Debut of the Month.

An enchanting debut from the journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark set on the Scottish island of Arran. The stories of two women – generations apart – are woven together in a delicate tapestry of interconnecting lives, loves and losses; vividly bringing to life the island’s past and its present - especially its powerful lure both for locals and newcomers.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. On the Scottish island of Arran, Elizabeth Pringle an elderly lady dies and leaves her home to a woman she has never met. Until her later days, when she confided something of her past history to two much younger friends, she remained a mystery to most. Now it falls to Martha, the daughter of the beneficiary, to take on the upkeep of Elizabeth’s house, to try to piece together her life story, and to discover what lies behind the inheritance. A fine debut with a keen sense of place.
~ The Good Book Guide


The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark


Penny Vincenzi Elizabeth Pringle lived all her long life on the Scottish island of Arran. But did anyone really know her? In her will she leaves her beloved house, Holmlea, to a stranger - a young mother she'd seen pushing a pram down the road over thirty years ago. It now falls to Martha, once the baby in that pram, to answer the question: why?


'Kirsty Wark's first novel gleams with beauty... Part romance, part family history, mother-and-daughter fable and meditation on memory, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle has qualities of heart... something of great worth and beauty gleams through the narrative and haunts the reader with its imaginative truth... Wark's presentation of a unique love unalloyed by sexuality is original and enthralling. The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle is a hymn to the stark beauty of the island of Arran.'


'Curl up for this big-hearted romantic debut by the Newsnight presenter... A pulse of secrets drives the story along... affecting and tender.'

-The Times

'Set on the Scottish island of Arran, Kirsty Wark's brilliantly vivid descriptions bring alive a story that reaches across the generations.'

-Daily Mail

'The narrative switches between Elizabeth and Martha...The structure works well, demonstrating the similarities and differences between the two women. Both are well-rounded characters and their stories are engaging... Martha's relationship with Anna is beautifully and touchingly written, a daughter helplessly watching her beloved, vibrant mother fade away... This is an appealing debut that sustains interest to the very last page... Elizabeth Pringle is a quietly heroic character and, like Arran, she never fails to charm.'

-Independent on Sunday

'The story is set in the beautiful Scottish island of Arran, a place Wark very obviously knows and loves... Wark's story telling is direct, compelling and rewarding for the reader. She is a real writer who happens to do television.'

-Daily Mail

'The book is fresh and beguiling... Wark deftly and delicately plaits the intricate tales of three women... The narrative is packed with incidents but, for the most part, does not rush; it breathes, sighs, ponders. Wark has an exceptionally vivid sense of place. Windswept Arran and Holy Island become starkly beautiful lodestones which keep its old inhabitants and draw new ones. The landscapes, soil and vegetation have the power to heal broken humans, deliver love and hope after calamities. George Eliot paid homage to those who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. In this novel some of those hidden stories are told and graves visited with real tenderness.'

- Independent

'A lyrical, truthful, contemplative book. [it] grows, imperceptibly, like bindweed round the reader, captivating them and then practically throttling them in with a denouement so shocking that I could barely speak afterwards.'

-Daily Telegraph

'Wark depicts the weather, the landscape and the inhabitants of the island so vividly that all I wanted was a ferry ticket.'

-Woman & Home

'An excellent, page-turning debut from the Newsnight presenter.'

- Viv Groskop, Red Magazine

'The accomplished journalist and broadcaster's -first foray into -fiction is a moving and intelligent novel - its language is poetic without being overblown; its subject matter poignant but not overly sentimental... On the surface a tale of romance, loss, family and history, its emotional force comes from an exploration of that most intimate of relationships: between mothers and daughters...All the characters are well rounded and authentic, and the island itself emerges as one of them. Indeed, it is the depiction of Arran that lifts the book out of the ordinary: the haunting, evocative and nostalgic setting becomes the -fitting backbone of this rich and captivating story.'

-The Lady

'Exquisite prose... a beautiful, sometimes devastating story that truly touches the heart.'

-Daily Record

'I can't imagine how Kirsty Wark found the time to write this big, rich novel when she is never off TV. It's terrifically readable, and the setting, the isle of Arran, is beautifully rendered.'

-Saga magazine

'[An] elegant debut novel from journalist and TV presenter Kirsty Wark... The secrets and courage of [Elizabeth's] life become apparent and the climax of her story is as satisfying as it is unexpected. The magic of the island, with its soft rains, carpets of flowers and ever-changing seascapes comes across strongly as Wark makes equal magic out of the extraordinariness of ordinary lives.'

-WI Life Magazine

'Beautifully paced and interesting... well defined and interesting. A really good read and a great first novel.'

-Bay of Plenty Times (NZ)

'Deeply moving, this is broadcaster Kirsty's debut novel and we can't wait to see what else she's got for us.'

-Woman's Way (Ireland)

'Completely enchanting. The story of two women's intertwined lives draws you in and holds you spellbound to the end. Penny Vincenzi Arran is the perfect setting and there is a deep sense of belonging. The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle is a really good read.'

-Rosamunde Pilcher

'An intriguing marriage of past and present, and an absorbing narrative. It made me want to go to Arran.'

- Penelope Lively

About the Author

Kirsty Wark is a journalist, broadcaster and writer who hosts a variety of BBC programmes including Newsnight and The Review Show and arts documentaries. Her home has always been Scotland and her family's connection to Arran goes back over many years. At present she is working on her second novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th October 2014


Kirsty Wark

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Two Roads an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


448 pages


Family Drama
Debuts of the Month
Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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