Moorend Farm

Written by Gwen Kirkwood
Review by Lisa Redmond

Gwen Kirkwood’s latest novel continues the story of William and Emma begun in Moorland Mist, and sees the young couple settling and raising a family at Moorend Farm in North Yorkshire. This is well-told saga of farming and family life on both sides of the English/ Scottish border at the turn of the 20th century. The characters are well drawn and the story telling is engaging and emotional.

Having made a success of the farm, and with a large family to fill the farmhouse, the Sinclairs are finally beginning to feel part of the community when news arrives that Emma’s mother in Scotland is gravely ill. Returning to visit her with her eldest two children, Jamie and Meg, and newborn Peter, Emma hopes to reconcile past rifts in the family. However, William’s mother, Grandmother Sinclair, upsets young Jamie with her coldness and refusal to acknowledge him, sowing the seeds of doubt in the young boy. This leads to Jamie becoming restless and unsettled and making some reckless decisions in the following years. Hidden secrets come home to roost following Grandmother Sinclair’s outburst.

This is a page-turning tale full of realism and fantastic detail about the realities of life on a country farm where the passing of time is marked not by the grand sweep of history (the death of King Edward VII is mentioned in passing) but rather by the cycles of nature. Although the book is a sequel, it can easily be read as a standalone. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Gill and Anna Jacobs.