The Wind from the Hills

Jessica Stirling, Author St. Martin's Press $25.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-312-24433-0
The lives and loves of two Scottish sisters, Innis and Biddy Campbell, propel the second installment of Stirling's deservedly popular Isle of Mull trilogy (after The Island Wife). No longer poor, the two crofter's daughters find themselves at the end of the 19th century in contrasting marital situations, with which they have vastly different ways of coping. Beautiful Biddy is now a wealthy but childless widow who tries out prospective husbands by recklessly testing their fertility; Innis, who converted to Catholicism, doggedly obeys her sour and silent shepherd husband, Michael Tarrant, a former lover of Biddy's. When a widower schoolmaster, Gillies Brown, and his brood move into the isolated island town and reopen the village school, simmering secrets rise to the surface. Innis must question both her marriage and her faith when she falls hard for Gillies; Biddy must decide once for all whom she will choose to marry. When a bright teenage cousin, Donnie, shows up at Biddy's house to attend Gillies's school, the boy takes an awkward place as Biddy's substitute son; he reminds her of her late brother, and of her awful past. Their acerbic, tough old mother, Vassie, secretly has her hand behind the events in her daughters' lives, and their horrid father, Ronan, is finally put away. Majordomo Willy Naismith works hard to protect Biddy's interests, and meanwhile her grandfather's second-in-command, Robert Quigley, has his own plans for one of the sisters, and for Donnie. Stirling's roundly realized characters are delineated in sharp, affectionate portrayals; even the cattle dogs acquire personalities. The setting--the harsh but beautiful Hebrides and the insular town of Crove--infuses the narrative with richly melancholic yet hearty realism. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/1999
Release date: 12/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7540-0317-5
Paperback - 442 pages - 978-0-340-67197-9
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-4668-7440-4
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