My wife gave me this book knowing that it would be of particular interest to me for two reasons. The most obvious to most people would be my affinity for Shakespeare and the fact that this memoir follows the story and history of family members in Cawdor castle...the same location/family that figures in Shakespeare's Macbeth. That in itself makes this interesting enough. Even more fun to me is that (supposedly), I'm a distant descendant of an early Thane of Cawdor...or at least a member of the Cawdor family. My aunt/uncle supposedly traced us all the way. In my own records, I only have information back as far as the early 1700s in Northern Scotland 50-100 miles north of Cawdor.
Regardless of whether I'm a distant-distant-distant cousin of the author and the family, this was still a rather interesting memoir. It's well written and does a great job of combining contemporary family history with the history of generations of Thanes and others in the area.
The historical stories were very interesting. The narrative voice is humorous and makes the ancient tales seem vivid and very accessible.
The modern day story is sad and distressing at times. One of the reviewer quotes from the back cover identifies the author/writing as "corageously honest." I can agree. Life in her family was difficult. She tells about feeling a bit distant and separate from her fellow school mates and not being able to relate to them and their modern parties and ideas while she lived in a castle in an antiquated family system.
I'm not a big reader of memoirs or biographies but I did enjoy this. The writing was fresh and clever. Even though this is a "titled" family living (literally) in a castle and on an estate, the stories and their lives were presented in such a way that I could empathize and relate to some of their struggles. I was left feeling close to the family and feeling sorrow at the way things turned out. Moreover, I was left curious for the future and to learn what's happened in the years since her brother became Thane and began working to restore the estate.
4 out of 5 stars
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