Monday 25 April 2016

Review ~ A House Divided by Margaret Skea

Sanderling Books

Eleven years on from the Massacre of Annock, the Cunninghame / Montgomerie truce is fragile.For the Munro family, living in hiding under assumed names, these are dangerous times.

While Munro risks his life daily in the service of the French King, the spectre of discovery by William Cunninghame haunts his wife Kate. Her fears for their children and her absent husband realized as William’s desire for revenge tears their world apart.

A sweeping tale of compassion and cruelty, treachery and sacrifice, set against the backdrop of feuding clans, the French Wars of Religion, and the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597.

I’ve always had a passion for Scottish history and my interest in this author’s work came about when I saw her debut book, Turn of the Tide, featured on the Alan Titchmarsh The People's Novelist competition back in 2011.  I then went on to discover this talented author for myself.

Keeping the stability whilst at the same time driving forward the focus of a continued story is not an easy accomplishment and there have been many sequels which have disappointed me when the follow on story lets itself down, but not so with A House Divided which takes up the story of the feuding Cunninghames and the Montgomeries in an altogether more detailed way.

When the story begins the fragile balance between the two clans is as delicate as ever, old grievances never to be forgotten lie dormant for a while, but there is never anything more than an uneasy peace between them, and the shadows and deceptions which irretrievably bind them together will always be at the forefront of any adventurous action.

As always, the history and the politics of sixteenth century Scotland is both scrupulously researched and intelligently written. Gradually, as the story unfolds, the perilous intrigue starts to emphasise just what a treacherous time this was, not just being part of a feudal system, which was scary enough, but also to be an intelligent woman, fighting for a place in a predominantly male world, was a dangerous risk. Skilful capability, whilst undoubtedly a gift, could, at this time in Scottish history,  all too easily result in superstition, gossip and undeniable treachery. 

There is no doubt that the author has a fine way with words and her ability as a story teller, particularly of historical fiction, I think,  is now firmly established.

I really enjoyed this sequel and hope that the author has more historical fiction planned for the future.

Best read with ....fresh caught herring, tangy with herbs and a tankard of small ale...

Margaret Skea grew up in Ulster at the height of the 'Troubles', but now lives with her husband in the Scottish Borders

Visit the author's Website

Follow on Twitter @margaretskea1

You can read guest posts by the author here... and here

My thanks to the author for sharing this story with me and also to the publishers Sanderling Books  for  providing an e-copy of this book. 



  1. Thank you for such an encouraging review, Jo. Thanks for featuring it, Glad you enjoyed the book, Margaret

    1. Hi Margaret, thanks for visiting Jaffareadstoo and for sharing your book with me..


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