Fiction elizabeth pringle

Published on March 16th, 2014


The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark

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Blurb: Born just before the First World War, Elizabeth Pringle has been a familiar yet solitary figure on the Scottish island of Arran. A dutiful daughter, an inspirational teacher, a gardener. But did anyone really know her? When Elizabeth dies, her will contains a surprise. She has left her home and her belongings to someone who is all but a stranger, a young mother she watched pushing a pram down the road more than thirty years ago. Now it falls to Martha, the baby in that pram, to find out how her mother inherited the house in such strange circumstances, and in doing so, perhaps leave her own past behind. But first she has to find the answer to the question: who was Elizabeth Pringle? (Two Roads, March 2014)

Stevie Davies, The Guardian

“The plot of The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle tends to clank and grind. Its romance elements are cliched and the sex scenes truly excruciating. Pacing feels ponderous in the middle sections. While Elizabeth’s first-person narrative, a memoir composed just before her death, is deftly handled, the alternating third-person account from Martha’s perspective can seem prolix. But something of great worth and beauty gleams through the narrative and haunts the reader with its imaginative truth.”

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Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent

“The book  is fresh and beguiling but parts of it are trite and gauche … Sometimes … Wark loses restraint and control, and you get gushing Mills and Boon prose and torrid (and really bad) sex scenes. Dams of passion burst, kisses rain, couples are often “suffused with more and more pleasure, exploring and devouring every inch of each other”, and there is much gasping and panting, trembling, devouring and swooning.  The descriptions of gardening are, in truth, far more erotic than these bedroom antics.”

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Shirley Whiteside, The Independent

“The narrative switches between Elizabeth and Martha. Elizabeth is frantically writing the story of her life while Martha discovers much about herself as she tries to get to know the woman who has been so generous to her mother. The structure works well, demonstrating the similarities and differences between the two women. Both are well-rounded characters and their stories are engaging if not wildly original. At times Wark lets her prose run away with her and it becomes so stuffed full of description that the reader’s imagination is left no room to breathe.”

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Helen Davies, The Sunday Times

…  great big baggy cardigan of a novel — warm, cosy, but a little bit threadbare at the elbows. But, if you’re in the mood for a saggy sort of a comfort read — and if we’re honest we can all weaken — then The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle will do nicely.

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Catherine Nixey, The Times

“This is definitely the sort of book where people do things like take each other on counters. It is also the sort of book where people narrow their eyes when suspicious, harden their voices when cross and where a woman who is upset might sink down at a table and lie “her forehead on her arms”. Something I have never once seen a person do in real life. It is, in other words, the sort of book produced when someone thinks, “I am Writing”; rather than the sort produced when someone just writes.”

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