Historical novels. The Rocking Horse Garden by Maggie Silwood. Review by Wendy Cartmell.
The Rocking Horse Garden is Maggie Silwood’s debut novel and is a fascinating tale. She has managed, with great skill, to weave three stories into one. The historical novel begins in the 19th Century, in Scotland, with the lives of the fishing communities on the coast of Fife. It is a hard and dangerous life. The fishing boats follow the herring shoals through cold and treacherous waters, while their women folk, the Herring Gutters, follow them. The conditions are hard, but the community keeps up a lively spirit.
Jessie, one of the young women falls in love with a boat builder and wood carver of great skill. Misfortune follows the family and the young couple, who are left feeling accursed and resolve to emigrate to Australia. The epic journey under sail is full of incident and tragedy.
The third part of the novel begins a hundred years later, when a great granddaughter finds Jessie’s diary and she travels back to Scotland to follow in Jessie’s footsteps.
Influencing this family’s fate is a sinister creature, well known in Scottish myth. It is a beast who preys on humans, the legendary horse from the sea, the Kelpie. An enchanting tale vividly told, makes this a great read and is highly recommended.
Review by William Burkey