A Time for Every Season

Written by Shelagh Noden
Review by jay Dixon

This is, I suppose, a saga, although it covers many themes – murder, blackmail, medicine, war and farming, to name a few. Set during the First World War, it is the story of Meg Fraser, widowed by the war, and her ambition to keep the family farm going for her schoolboy son, Will. It is also the story of Isobel, her daughter, who is a VAD and whose fiancé is declared missing in action, and of Jeannie, the daughter of a widowed crofter who wants to become a teacher, but who seems to be destined to remain a maid for the rest of her life.

When Meg falls foul of a neighbour, Will is accused of his murder, which leads to the uncovering of a secret he has kept from his mother. And when Isobel returns to England from France dangerously ill, another secret is revealed which changes the lives of all concerned for ever.

Pleasantly written, although I am dubious about some of the language used (did people say ‘I haven’t seen you for ages’ in 1915?), and lacking some detail (I never knew how old Will and Jeannie were meant to be, as the information given indicated anything between 12 and 16) this is nevertheless an easy read with some insights into life in a farming community in Scotland in the early part of the 20th century.