The Good Provider

Jessica Stirling, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-02580-9
This first volume of a projected trilogy by veteran historical novelist Stirling ( Treasures on Earth ) tells the tale of a young farm couple caught up in a struggle to survive in the mean streets of 19th century Glasgow. Kirsty Barnes, an orphan indentured to a lecherous old farmer, escapes from his advances with the help of her childhood sweetheart, Craig Nicholson, but when the two reach Glasgow, they experience the rigors of urban poverty. Marriage takes second place to survival, although their fortunes improve when a churchgoing widow befriends Kirsty. Still not legally married, Kirsty gives birth to a son, and Craig establishes his reputation as a policeman. Though they mature through their hardships, their intimacy does not deepen, and by novel's end, Kirsty's fate seems to rest in the hands of a young doctor/minister, foreshadowing the next book. Stirling sets interesting characters within the framework of a realistic story. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7451-6314-7
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