If you like your swash buckled, your heroines with pert, heaving bosoms, your highlanders toting nothing more than a sporran and a husky Sean Connery accent, then I can tell you now you won’t like ‘Sisters of the Bruce’! I could add blood, guts and gore to the list! Nope – you won’t find much of that either!
So what is it that you will find, and will it entertain? Only you can answer that question.
Some readers of historical fiction are in fact poorly-disguised adrenaline junkies. Cradled within the loving embrace of their favourite armchair, they sit wild-eyed, waiting to be propelled, nay dragged by the hair, back to a time of supreme bloodletting where limbs are hacked from bodies to the accompanying gurgle of death cries. Pages must be turned at great pace as the story line rushes ever onwards; hearts beating a staccato tattoo as protagonists, individuals and armies alike, make short work of each other. Such excitement lifts the everyday from the mundane. And yes, pretty much everyone loves a rampaging adventure. Part of me can see the attraction, though I think re-enactors have far more fun!
Others might prefer some characterization in there with a few facts added for authenticity but the balance for writers is notoriously elusive. Woe-betide the author who weighs the story down with too much fact and too little excitement, rendering it a cooling plate of lumpy literary porridge.
The story must be also be told through dialogue, as well, with nary a hint of vernacular to spoil the concentration and heaven forbid if there is a fulsome description of the life and times of those living the great tale, to bog the reader down. Oh and keep the book short!. For time-poor tweeters, brevity will always be a factor.
But there are people in the world, I am sure of it, who can recognize a tale’s eloquence not in the spoken word but in stunningly evocative language and, dare I say it, descriptive passages that open the heart to unseen pathways. Sometimes stories flourish, growing broader and deeper, as egregious human impulses show their perennial nature and we see ourselves reflected in the dilemmas and choices made, except that we will always have the magical benefit of hindsight.
Sisters of The Bruce is a novel, written in the style that I like to read. I hope there are others like me who revel in a reflective tale; a fable as old as time but as recent as yesterday’s news; a tale that renders you breathless at man’s cruelty and equally excited by the soaring resilience of the human spirit. Savour it and you will be the richer for having read it!
It is Scotland’s tale, as complex as the people, the culture and the language, and I feel honoured and privileged to be able to share it with you.