Priorsford by O. Douglas (Anna Buchan)

Priorsford is a sequel to Penny Plain which you can read about here. It was published ten years after Penny Plain and the story has moved on just about the same amount of time. Jean now has three children and is living in England at her husband’s estate. It’s years since she has been to visit the folks back in Priorsford (Peebles) in Scotland so when her husband has to go away for the winter with a friend who is very ill, she takes the chance to move her family back to where she grew up so that she can catch up with all her old friends and neighbours. Mrs. Duff Whalley thinks the worst, of course, as that type always does.

I think I enjoyed this one more than Penny Plain which was a wee bit too preachy in parts for my liking. This is an enjoyable comfort read but there are plenty of mentions of the hard times which so many people were experiencing in the 1930s. The problems were all so similar to what’s going on today and I briefly thought to myself that we’ve always had periods of unemployment and poverty – and then I remembered what it was that got us out of the 1930s depression – war! They’re going to have to come up with a better solution this time around!

This excerpt is towards the end of the book when Jock is complaining about his office job:

‘It’s a good opening,’ Betty reminded him. ‘Just think how many there are who would be thankful for it.’

‘Oh, I know,’ Jock agreed. ‘There are dozens of men who were with me at Oxford, most of them better scholars, all of them quicker in the uptake, and they simply can’t get a bally thing to do. And people rave about the youth of our country having lost the spirit of adventure, and asking why they don’t go to the Colonies and carve out careers for themselves. But these men have little or no capital, and the Colonies don’t want them.’

As you can see, Priorsford is more than a comfort book, it delves into the problems of the day, but the inhabitants of Priorsford are much the same as before so they’re all recognisable ‘types’. Jean as a wife and mother is rivalling the mother in Little House on the Prairie books for being mild mannered and almost saintly, the way she puts up with her husband and family!

I’m looking forward to going to Priorsford (Peebles) soonish and I want to go to where the Laverlaw meets the Tweed, local legend has it that Merlin is buried there! Have you heard about that Evee, and did you ever discover the location of The Riggs?

8 thoughts on “Priorsford by O. Douglas (Anna Buchan)

    • Peggy Ann,
      I think I’m going to read some vintage crime after I’ve finished The Odd Women and then I’ll read The Setons. Have you read that one yet? See you in Priorsford!

      • I have not read The Setons yet but I do I have it. I just checked out The Odd Women, have never heard of that one. Project Gutenberg has quite a few of Gissing’s novels. I added some to my books! thanks for the new author!

        • Peggy Ann,
          I’ve just finished The Odd Women, it’s another book which is slow to get going but worth reading in the end. I think I’ll definitely buy a Kindle – if only for the books on Project Gutenberg!

    • Evee,
      Thanks for the link, I also clicked the Arthur link on the site, which mentions Dumbarton Castle/Rock.
      Mary Stewart mentions it as having Arthurian connections in her Arthur books and there’s a local Merlin legend too – he certainly got about!

    • Debbie,
      I hope you manage to get copies of the books. They can be quite difficult to get a hold of, I suppose they are classic Scottish books, a bit twee and homely though – easy reading.

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