One of the UK's most respected and well-known journalists and broadcasters moves into fiction. The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle is a multi-generational story of love and belonging set on the Scottish island of Arran.
'COMPLETELY ENCHANTING' - PENNY VINCENZI
Born just before the First World War, Elizabeth Pringle has been a familiar yet solitary figure on the Scottish island of Arran. A dutiful daughter, an inspirational teacher, a gardener. But did anyone really know her? When Elizabeth dies, her will contains a surprise. She has left her home and her belongings to someone who is all but a stranger, a young mother she watched pushing a pram down the road more than thirty years ago.
Now it falls to Martha, the baby in that pram, to find out how her mother inherited the house in such strange circumstances, and in doing so, perhaps leave her own past behind. But first she has to find the answer to the question: who was Elizabeth Pringle?
A captivating and haunting story of the richness beneath so-called ordinary lives and the secrets and threads that hold women together.
~ ~ ~
Dear Mrs Morrison,
A long time ago, almost thirty-four years past, you wrote to me requesting that I contact you should I ever wish to leave my home. I knew then that I would never live anywhere else, and so there was no point in my replying to you.
I saw you almost every day, pushing your pram along Shore Road. You looked very young. I remember that on one occasion you waved to me, and I think I tilted my head towards you. Perhaps you did not see. There have been times when that scene has come to me vividly, and I have wondered what has become of you both.
I am instructing my solicitor to write to you at the address on your letter. Holmlea is yours if you still wish it.
Kirsty Wark is a journalist, broadcaster and writer who has presented a wide range of BBC programmes over the past thirty years, from the ground-breaking Late Show to the nightly current affairs show Newsnight and the weekly Arts and Cultural review and comment show, The Review Show. She has conducted longform interviews with everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Madonna, Harold Pinter, Elton John, the musician Pete Doherty, Damien Hirst, George Clooney and the likes of Toni Morrison, Donna Tartt and Philip Roth.
Kirsty has won several major awards for her work, including BAFTA Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, Journalist of the Year and Best Television Presenter. Her debut novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, was published in March 2014 by Two Roads and was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year Award, as well as nominated for the 2016 International DUBLIN Literary Award. Her second novel, The House by the Loch, has been inspired by her childhood memories and family, particularly her grandfather.
Born in Ayr, Scotland, Kirsty lives in Glasgow.
Kirsty Wark's first novel gleams with beauty... Part romance, part family history, mother-and-daughter fable and meditation on memory, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle has qualities of heart... something of great worth and beauty gleams through the narrative and haunts the reader with its imaginative truth... Wark's presentation of a unique love unalloyed by sexuality is original and enthralling. The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle is a hymn to the stark beauty of the island of Arran. — Guardian
Curl up for this big-hearted romantic debut by the Newsnight presenter... A pulse of secrets drives the story along... affecting and tender. — The Times
Set on the Scottish island of Arran, Kirsty Wark's brilliantly vivid descriptions bring alive a story that reaches across the generations. — Daily Mail
The narrative switches between Elizabeth and Martha...The structure works well, demonstrating the similarities and differences between the two women. Both are well-rounded characters and their stories are engaging... Martha's relationship with Anna is beautifully and touchingly written, a daughter helplessly watching her beloved, vibrant mother fade away... This is an appealing debut that sustains interest to the very last page... Elizabeth Pringle is a quietly heroic character and, like Arran, she never fails to charm. — Independent on Sunday
The story is set in the beautiful Scottish island of Arran, a place Wark very obviously knows and loves... Wark's story telling is direct, compelling and rewarding for the reader. She is a real writer who happens to do television. — Daily Mail
The book is fresh and beguiling... Wark deftly and delicately plaits the intricate tales of three women... The narrative is packed with incidents but, for the most part, does not rush; it breathes, sighs, ponders. Wark has an exceptionally vivid sense of place. Windswept Arran and Holy Island become starkly beautiful lodestones which keep its old inhabitants and draw new ones. The landscapes, soil and vegetation have the power to heal broken humans, deliver love and hope after calamities. George Eliot paid homage to those "who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs." In this novel some of those hidden stories are told and graves visited with real tenderness. — Independent
a lyrical, truthful, contemplative book. [it] grows, imperceptibly, like bindweed round the reader, captivating them and then practically throttling them in with a denouement so shocking that I could barely speak afterwards. — Daily Telegraph
The BBC presenter's debut novel is an enjoyable mother-and-daughter fable and meditation on memory — Observer
Wark depicts the weather, the landscape and the inhabitants of the island so vividly that all I wanted was a ferry ticket. — Woman & Home
An excellent, page-turning debut from the Newsnight presenter. — Viv Groskop, Red Magazine
This haunting story of love and loss, set in Kirsty's beloved Scottish Highlands, will linger with you long after you've reluctantly read the last page. — Woman's Weekly
The accomplished journalist and broadcaster's first foray into fiction is a moving and intelligent novel - its language is poetic without being overblown; its subject matter poignant but not overly sentimental... On the surface a tale of romance, loss, family and history, its emotional force comes from an exploration of that most intimate of relationships: between mothers and daughters...All the characters are well rounded and authentic, and the island itself emerges as one of them. Indeed, it is the depiction of Arran that lifts the book out of the ordinary: the haunting, evocative and nostalgic setting becomes the fitting backbone of this rich and captivating story. — The Lady
very, very good... a tribute to life and indomitability with smiles and excitement among the minutiae and discoveries... This wonderfully enthralling story held together by three redoubtable, engaging and very real women is for everyone — Bookbag (Top 10 Historical Novels of 2014)
meditative, beguiling and absorbing — Daunts Books - Marylebone Journal
Exquisite prose... a beautiful, sometimes devastating story that truly touches the heart. — Daily Record
Gentle and genteel — Sunday Herald
I can't imagine how Kirsty Wark found the time to write this big, rich novel when she is never off TV. It's terrifically readable, and the setting, the isle of Arran, is beautifully rendered. — Saga magazine
[An] elegant debut novel from journalist and TV presenter Kirsty Wark... The secrets and courage of [Elizabeth's] life become apparent and the climax of her story is as satisfying as it is unexpected. The magic of the island, with its soft rains, carpets of flowers and ever-changing seascapes comes across strongly as Wark makes equal magic out of the extraordinariness of ordinary lives. — WI Life Magazine
Beautifully paced and interesting... well defined and interesting. A really good read and a great first novel. — Bay of Plenty Times (NZ)
Deeply moving, this is broadcaster Kirsty's debut novel and we can't wait to see what else she's got for us. — Woman's Way (Ireland)
Completely enchanting. The story of two women's intertwined lives draws you in and holds you spellbound to the end. — Penny Vincenzi
Arran is the perfect setting and there is a deep sense of belonging. The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle is a really good read. — Rosamunde Pilcher
An intriguing marriage of past and present, and an absorbing narrative. It made me want to go to Arran. — Penelope Lively