My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really liked this book!
Poor Dinah… she is left to raise four children on her own. Dinah’s husband, Gilbert had made it all through the war only to be killed in a tragic accident. Dinah is left not only responsible for her young children, but with unhappy memories as their last parting revealed that her husband did not have the loyalty toward his growing family that she hoped he would have.
Dinah is tired out but her brother Dan comes to the rescue with a month-long vacation he provides for the young family back in their childhood home in Scotland.
“You’ve got a plan?”
“Yes, rather a marvellous plan – at least, I think it’s marvellous. The plan is for you to bring the children to Seatown for the whole of August.”
“You must be mad!” exclaimed Dinah, in amazement.
“Why? Nannie would love to have you at Craigie Lodge. It would be a rest for you, wouldn’t it? I could easily run down and spend week-ends with you.”
Returning to the place she grew up, meeting old friends and neighbors, getting rest and relaxation by the sea, all do the trick for Dinah. Dinah soon meets an old acquaintance and tries to cope with his sour and crochety relatives. She makes friends with another older couple who invite the family to tea, and in the process, Dinah will discover some answers to questions that have been hidden for years.
I really admired Dinah’s character as she seems to escape bitterness and her primary character trait seems to be kindness.
“How unhappy she must be!”
“Unhappy?” asked Malcolm in surprise.
“Only a terribly unhappy person would want to make trouble,” said Dinah with conviction. “It’s when people are utterly and completely miserable that they want to hurt other people and make them unhappy too.”
“How do you know? he asked.
“Because of the children. If they’re happy they’re good,” said Dinah simply.”
The mystery that is uncovered for Dinah will, at first, give her quite a shock, but ends up being a good thing for the entire family.
Another gentle read, this novel was also not only entertaining but full of D.E. Stevenson’s usual insights into character and motivations. There are descriptions of the various characters in the book and the contrast of the “dour Scots” nature with their tongue-in-cheek humor. And the reader will enjoy reading some of Scotland’s history as Dinah’s children are educated with the story of Marmion and visit Tantallon Castle. The slow pace of Dinah’s life in this little town and her adventures as she makes her way through the aftermath of grief, all make for a pleasant and relaxing reading experience.