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The House by the Loch: 'a deeply satisfying work of pure imagination' - Damian Barr

Kirsty Wark

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

The bestselling novel set in the beautiful Scottish countryside, of family drama and secrets refusing to lie buried in the past, from Kirsty Wark, author of The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle

A Scottish Number One Bestseller and Book of the Month.
A novel of family drama and long-hidden secrets, set in the beautiful Scottish countryside, from the bestselling author of The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle.

'Evocatively drawn' Sunday Times | 'Rich, layered and compelling, Wark's debut was impressive; with this novel she has really hit her stride' Yorkshire Post | 'A deeply satisfying work of pure imagination' Damian Barr, author of You Will Be Safe Here | 'Beautiful and atmospheric' Alistair Moffat, author of The Hidden Ways |'Rich and pleasing' Allan Massie, The Scotsman | 'Beautifully written' Daily Mail | 'One to savour' Sunday Express | 'An epic masterpiece' Philippa Perry

Scotland, 1950s

Walter MacMillan is bewitched by the clever, glamorous Jean Thompson and can't believe his luck when she agrees to marry him. Neither can she, for Walter represents a steady and loving man who can perhaps quiet the demons inside her. Yet their home on remote Loch Doon soon becomes a prison for Jean and neither a young family, nor Walter's care, can seem to save her.

Many years later, Walter is with his adult children and adored grandchildren on the shores of Loch Doon where the family has been holidaying for two generations. But the shadows of the past stretch over them and will turn all their lives upside down on one fateful weekend.

The House by the Loch is the story of a family in all its loving complexity, and the way it can, and must, remake itself endlessly in order to make peace with the past.

'Powerful and compelling' Sue Lawrence | 'Her understanding of family - its mysteries, losses and secrets - is masterful' Julie Myerson

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Praise for The House by the Loch: 'a deeply satisfying work of pure imagination' - Damian Barr

  • Like Wark's bestselling 2014 debut, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, this novel's heart lies in the evocatively drawn landscape of southwest Scotland . . . strong on place, dialogue and believable characters - The Times

  • Wark's second novel brings to life Galloway - one the most beautiful and least well-known parts of Scotland, even to many Scots. This sparsely populated but spare and beautiful landscape anchors three generations of one family struggling to come to terms with a dark secret. As with her debut, The House by the Loch draws on real historical incident and some of her own personal history while also being a deeply satisfying work of pure imagination, however real Jean and Walter and their families feel. A multi-generational story that is at once sweeping and intimate. - Damian Barr, author of You Will Be Safe Here

  • I've been enthralled by the wonderful and atmospheric world Kirsty Wark has created - really powerful and compelling. - Sue Lawrence, author of The Night He Left

  • It took me back to the books I adored when I was young - the sheer pleasure of immersing yourself in a single family, past and present, their lives in thrall to the sweep and power of the landscape. You need curiosity and generosity to write like this and Wark has so much of both. Her understanding of family - its mysteries, losses and secrets, and especially the fraught tenderness between mothers and daughters - is masterful. - Julie Myerson, author of SOMETHING MIGHT HAPPEN

  • Slow burning and richly descriptive, this is one to savour - Sunday Express

  • It is a very good story. It holds you. You are eager to know how it will unfold . . . There is much to delight. There is warmth and understanding. It's a very Scottish novel, not only in its setting but in its suggestion of the duality of human nature . . . One test of a novel is whether you almost immediately want to read it again. A second is whether you find still more in it at this second reading. I would guess that for many The House by the Loch will pass both tests, colours flying. - Allan Massie, The Scotsman

  • Kirsty Wark has woven a brilliant tapestry, pulling together the threads of three generations and setting their lives against the background of one of the most beautiful and atmospheric places in Britain. Many good novelists write well about the inner lives of their characters and some can make the landscape come alive, but very few can do both as well as Kirsty. I loved The House by the Loch and couldn't wait to turn each page. - Alistair Moffat, author of The Hidden Ways

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Kirsty Wark

Kirsty Wark is a journalist, broadcaster and writer who has presented a wide range of BBC programmes for more than twenty five years, from the ground-breaking Late Show to the weekly arts and cultural review show The Review Show and the nightly current affairs show Newsnight.

Kirsty has won several major awards for her work, including BAFTA Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, Journalist of the Year and Best Television Presenter. Her debut novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, was published in March 2014 by Two Roads and was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year Award, as well as nominated for the International DUBLIN Literary Award. Her second novel, The House by the Loch, was inspired by her childhood memories and family, particularly her father. She is currently working on her third novel, set in Glasgow.

Born in Dumfries and educated in Ayr, Scotland, Kirsty now lives in Glasgow.

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