Furrowed Middlebrow Project Book Review: Smouldering Fire

Author: D.E. Stevenson

Rating: 4 stars

Publication Date: 1935

Book Blurb: Despite his passionate love for Ardfalloch, Iain has been driven to let his home and estate to Mr. Hetherington Smith, a wealthy London businessman, and his kindly wife (who was, truth be told, happier when they were poor).

MacAslan stays on in a cottage by the loch, aided by his devoted keeper Donald and Donald’s wife Morag. But he finds himself irresistibly drawn to Linda Medworth and her young son, invited to Ardfalloch by Mrs Hetherington Smith. Lush Highland scenery and a ruined castle set the stage for a mystery, and tension builds to a shocking conclusion.

This was an enjoyable read. It was almost, almost a 5-star read. Very atmospheric. The supporting characters were fleshed out so well. I didn’t realize how well writers did that back then. I find it lacking today – but it could just be the books I had been reading recently. I cared just as much about the outcomes of the supporting characters as I did for the main characters. Matter of fact, my favorite character was Mrs. Hetherington- Smith whose purpose in the book was twofold – to act as a catalyst for our two main characters to meet, and to address the farce that money= happiness.

There are some statements in here about class, good and bad. You’re able to make an observation and draw your own conclusions on the matter so I was ok with how it was presented. Books written Pre- WWII are interesting to me cuz you know what is coming but the writer doesn’t. I find the dynamic and tones interesting – what is viewed as important to the book’s characters or the hope you know will be dashed soon.

The romance was ok, but the “hero” was a little… quirky. I don’t know a better word. The contrast between city and Highland life felt like you were reading two books sometimes – and I mean that as a compliment. I will be reading more from this author.

This book has a title that denotes a bodice ripper romance title to me. But it’s not. Recommend!

3 responses to “Furrowed Middlebrow Project Book Review: Smouldering Fire”

  1. How does this compare to an Austin in terms of characters?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Austen is better. I’m a huge Austen fan. But this had more realistic takes on characters. For example, I said the hero is quirky- there is a part of the story where the heroine is questioning whether she could live with him or if he would be a good match because of that. I prefer that over today’s tendency to hesitate cuz of tropes like he’s aloof or standoffish and I can change him/bring out the best in him nonsense.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oops on the Austin. Some day I’ll get all the permutations right 🙂

        Lord save us from partners who think they can change us. Because history has shown how well THAT always works out 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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