A carefully constructed novel about family loyalty and Gaelic heritage. The rough, impoverished life of Calum MacDonald, orphan, miner, ex-convict is recollected by his younger brother, now a successful orthodontist living in Southern Ontario. Their family is of the clan “Calum Ruadh” – descended from the strong-willed man who left the Scottish Highlands to settle in Cape Breton in 1779. The family motto is “blood is thicker than water” and members of the clan are recognized by others all over Canada (and in Scotland) by their black eyes and red hair. MacLeod, who was raised in Cape Breton, paints a meticulous yet moving picture of life on the east coast.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This novel was enjoyed by everyone. The narrative was simple, but many of the scenes stay with the reader…. the horse Christy pulling the boat to shore, Grandpa’s frostbitten private parts, the impromptu fiddling concert at the mine, and the drive across the flooded causeway. We appreciated the MacDonald clan’s love of their animals, their sense of humour and their loyalty.