By Carol Preston
From the BlurbChris Norman's dreams of being a commercial pilot are shattered when he crashes his light plane in central Australia and is badly wounded. His life hangs in the balance, a balance that is swayed by the intervention of an Aboriginal man. He leaves Chris with a mysterious and incongruous legacy, a Celtic cross made of stone. Partly blinded and in deep grief at no longer being able to fly, Chris finds his way to the inhospitable islands off the West Coast of Scotland where he seeks to unravel the secrets of the Celtic Stone.
ReviewThe blurb of this book held so many promises of interest for me. Who wouldn't be intrigued by a mystery around a Celtic cross? Having recently visited Scottish Islands and been fascinated by the Celtic culture and history I was immediately drawn to this story which was to unfold on the Isle of Skye. I certainly wasn't disappointed. The historical research behind this book is impressive. It's woven into the story in such a way that as a reader I was so intrigued with the plot that I didn't realise how much I'd learned about the cultural mores and the complex laws and development of the crofting communities of Scotland, until I finished the story and reflected back on how much information I'd taken in.
Other aspects of this novel are equally engaging. There's the wonderful character of Morag, a blind Hebridean woman who has been shunned by many in her local community, and Ruan, the seven year old boy who has lost his family. Both of these are complex characters, needing love and care, but also fiercely independent. They bring the challenge of giving and receiving love, of dealing with rejection and alienation, of mutual respect and understanding in relationships, which make this story very moving and compelling.
I appreciated Nick's perspective in this story, which has a strong and likeable male character, who is dealing with grief, discovering his identity and struggling with relationship. I think this is presented in a sensitive and realistic manner, which shows a depth of understanding about human beings and relationships. The female character of Morag is equally deep and well developed, and a character with whom I could identify as a female reader. It's really balanced and believable, which makes the love story engaging and touching.
The conflict which Chris has with ruthless and dangerous figures in the political and crofting world of the islands provides a mystery and power struggle rooted in generations of unfolding traditions and schemes. This also makes this story a real page turner. I believe male and female readers alike, will find this novel exciting, engaging and satisfying.
Carol PrestonCarol is an author of historical novels set in rural Australia and based on her family ancestry in Australia. You can see more about Carol and her novels on her website: www.carolpreston.com.au
or her Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/carolpreston or on Facebook www.facebook.com/writingtoreach