Cross Gaits by Isabel Cameron – 20 Books of Summer 2021

Cross Gaits cover

Cross Gaits by Isabel Cameron was first published in 1945. The setting is Scotland and in the beginning it’s 1904 and Margory Mackay is preparing to marry Hugh Mcgregor a church minister, but there’s turmoil within their branch of Christianity with a split likely among congregations and the so-called church leaders, the usual ‘Free Church of Scotland’ thing. They decide to go ahead with the wedding anyway.

This book isn’t as interesting or amusing as the previous book that I’ve read by this author – The Fascinating Hat. I can vouch for the authenticity of the background of the tale though as it was a hard life being a minister’s wife back in those days, unless you were lucky enough to have money of your own, or the husband had. Those huge manses that they were given as part of the very small stipend were impossible to heat and life was a struggle, especially for the wives. I had that first hand from Jack’s granny who became a rector’s wife during World War 1.

This was just too ‘churchy’ to be a comfy read for me. I’ve bought a few more of Isabel Cameron’s books, just because of the Scottish setting, I feel that they’re a glimpse into the social history of the times, so I hope those ones are more enjoyable than this one.

I read this one for 20 Books of Summer 2021. My copy didn’t have the dust cover.

4 thoughts on “Cross Gaits by Isabel Cameron – 20 Books of Summer 2021

    • tracybham,
      Some of the congregation left rabbits (probably they had been poached) on the back doorstep, that helped out with the family finances!

  1. That is exactly how I feel about certain books – that they are a window into the social history of a place or time, even if they aren’t exactly enjoyable. But it’s a pity this didn’t provide both, as her other book had. I doubt I would ever have come across this author, except in one of those Edinburgh used bookstores (I did find a few over behind the Castle but didn’t find anything appealing, alas).

    • Constance,
      This one was a ‘safe’ book to give to an elderly maiden aunt! I rarely go to those bookshops that you visited behind the Castle as I’ve never been lucky there and books tend to be more expensive than elsewhere in Edinburgh.

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