No Skylarks Sing

Written by Millie Vigor
Review by Edward James

This is the sequel to Catherine of Deepdale, which described Catherine’s arrival in the Shetland Islands and the early years of her life there. No Skylarks Sing is set 15 years later, with Catherine now remarried, following the death of her first husband, and with three more children.

This is arguably not an historical novel, since the story has now reached the 1970s. However, the Shetlands are still relatively unchanged; the oil boom which changed them for ever has yet to come. The novel is a fairly slow moving family saga – essentially Catherine has a crisis in her marriage and survives. The daily life of a Shetland croft, its delights, tediums and relentless backbreaking toil are described in detail. If you liked the earlier book you will like this, and it will appeal to anybody interested in the traditional life of the Shetlands, now largely vanished.