After having read The Gentlemen’s Club, Cautionary Tales and Scarlet by Emmanuelle de Maupassant I eagerly anticipated her latest book, Highland Pursuits. I wasn’t disappointed; this is a rollicking tale of the 1920’s, somewhat in the manner of the popular television program, Upstairs, Downstairs. We read about the daily adventures of the hired help and the landed gentry who inhabit a Scottish castle. Under the hand of this talented and skillful author descriptions of nature, dialogues and actions of the various characters come to life as we learn their innermost secrets, desires and disappointments.
This read is fast paced and highly enjoyable. The author is a consummate story teller who seamlessly leads the reader through the heroine’s various adventures in coming of age. We are introduced to the Lady Ophelia, a 1920’s debutante, who is exiled to Scotland to live with her grandmother, Morag. With her she takes what she considers to be life’s necessities: a variety of ball gowns, her lap dog, a Cairn terrier named Pudding, a Cadbury’s Milk Tray and a well leafed copy of Lady Chatterly’s Lover. We experience with her the fancy dress balls, an embarrassing fall in the lake and a disastrous grouse hunt. We learn her attitudes, uncertainties and disappointments as she matures under the guidance of her grandmother who eventually bequeaths to her Kintochlochie Castle. This may sound simple, but life’s lessons are not so easily learned. A young woman’s heart is easily turned by love, romance and a kilted Scot named Hamish.
I highly recommend reading this fascinating book.