Catherine of Deepdale
In 1946, Catherine Jameson leaves Southampton for the Shetland Isles, home of her new husband, Robbie, anticipating an idyllic island life. Despite discovering his home is a croft with no modern conveniences, and his mother’s disdain for the new English wife, Catherine is determined to adapt. However, when Robbie perishes in a fishing accident, and Catherine discovers she is pregnant, she can either return to her family or stay on the island and carry out her husband’s dream of breeding Cheviot sheep. Catherine decides to stay.
For readers looking for a cozy story to curl up with by the fireside, I recommend this novel. Despite a few punctuation glitches, and the overuse of dialogue tags, e.g. ‘“Call me Doris,” said Doris’, I found it pleasant to read, with likeable and sympathetic characters.
The author evokes the wild, desolate landscape of the islands so vividly that it made me want to visit and learn about crofting. Her use, at times, of Shetland dialect is not intrusive.
I found it hard to accept Catherine’s decision to remain after her husband’s death. She had a good relationship with her own family, something she does not have, initially, with her in-laws. The weather is harsh, she has few friends, and no feasible reason apart from her dead husband’s dream to remain. The plot is predictable, and I would have preferred a few surprises. The author might have been better served to omit the sex scenes, which I found clichéd to the point of laughable. Apart from these misgivings, I enjoyed the story and missed having it to curl up with once I’d finished.