From Ginny Pisciotta
Author: Compton Mackenzie
Monarch of the Glen
Having loved (and previously reviewed) the Monarch of the Glen DVD series, I just had to read the book of the same title. Unlike the series, which takes place in more current times, the book takes place in the 1940’s, when Hector MacDonald’s father, also Hector MacDonald (but referred to as Ben Nevis) was Laird of Glenbogle.
Ben Nevis has visitors from the U.S. – a millionaire (Chester Royde), his young bride Carrie, a Scottish Canadian interested in her Scottish MacDonald roots, and Chester’s sister Myrtle. Maintaining castles, estates, and a gentry lifestyle can be very difficult and expensive in the 20th century so Ben Nevis attempts to set heiress Myrtle up with one of his sons.
The visitors are quite enamored with Highland lore and life. Chester even starts wearing kilts. They also get caught up in a hysterical all-out war between Ben Nevis, clinging to customs and thinking more fitting of centuries gone by, and a group of progressive thinking hikers, who feel they have the right to hike on the lands of Glenbogle.
The story and characters are humorous and enjoyable overall. My one complaint would be that the story gets bogged down a bit in wordiness and Gaelic dialect, though even the wordiness can be quite clever if you can take the time to read it through. Also, the switching back and forth between names and titles can be a bit confusing.
I would recommend this book to fans of the series who need a Glenbogle fix, or to those interested in Scottish culture, or to anyone who enjoys a humorous story full of quirky characters and doesn’t mind a little wordiness or Gaelic dialect.