Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott – The Classics Club spin # 35

I wasn’t too thrilled when I got this book in the Classics Club spin, but I feel that I should read Scott’s novels and putting them on my list is the way to do it for me.

Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott was first published in 1818, but the setting is around about 1715, just before the first Jacobite Rising but the story begins in the south of England, Frank Osbaldistone narrates the tale.

Frank’s father owns a succesful business which he expects Frank as his only child to take over, but Frank has no intention of being tied down to something that he knows he wouldn’t enjoy. He refuses to follow his father into his business, which disappoints and upsets the father so much that he says that Frank must leave home, he’s cutting him off.  His father had been looking forward to the company and friendship of Frank now that he’s an adult. Frank doesn’t really believe that his father will throw him out of the family home, but he does, he also gives Frank the task of visiting the home of Frank’s uncle and cousins who are strangers to Frank as the senior Osbaldistone brothers had fallen out years ago, due to religious differences. Frank is to ask the eldest cousin Rashleigh to replace him in the family business, Frank almost changes his mind about refusing to work for his father.

Frank travels to their home in the north of England and meets his uncle, six male cousins and their relative the lovely Die Vernon whom Frank falls for. Rashleigh sets off for England and his new position, but eventually Frank hears news that Rashleigh has not been the good and dutiful businessman he has been expected to be, and Frank’s father’s whole business is in danger.

There’s a lot more to the story than this as Frank gets involved with Jacobite Highlanders and Rob Roy MacGregor, whom he had met earlier when he was calling himself Campbell.

I found the beginning of this book really hard going as Scott would never use one word when he could write two hundred, and it makes everything very dense, but towards  the end I felt my way through the fog, (I think) I was glad to reach the end of the 455 pages of quite small print. I think it’ll be a while before I tackle another book by Walter Scott.

When the book was first published it kicked off tourism in Scotland as people wanted to visit the locations mentioned in the book, and that continues to this day. I intend to visit some of the places that I haven’t been to already, but I grew up close to some of the locations. My gran was a MacGregor.

If you’re interested in seeing Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s home, have a look at my previous blogposts about it here.


6 thoughts on “Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott – The Classics Club spin # 35

  1. I haven’t read this one, but I do find Scott quite variable. I was disappointed in Waverley but on the other hand I loved The Fair Maid of Perth and The Antiquary. Sometimes his style is a bit plainer and less verbose, and he just gets on with telling a good story, and I enjoy him better then.

    • FictionFan,
      I haven’t read The Antiquary, so far my favourite has been The Pirate, but I haven’t read all that many of them.

  2. I was just saying to my mother how different our lives would be if we had lived in an era where the only good books were Dickens and Scott. Assuming we were leisure class and had time to read!

    Ivanhoe is the only one I’ve read, mostly because of Knight’s Castle but I can tell they vary greatly in readability.

    Have you read Sutcliff’s Bonnie Dundee? (I just got up to check the title – the last time I checked I had two copies and now both are absent – grrrrr) I think it is a more readable version of whichever Scott is about Claverhouse; Old Mortality? Anyway, it is on my TBR except for suddenly being missing.

    • Constance,
      Yes I have read Bonnie Dundee and enjoyed it. I hope that you can find one of your copies. I have no idea which Scott novel is about Claverhouse, but the Rosemary Sutcliff one will be much shorter anyway, that’s for sure!

  3. I felt the same way about the book I got for the spin (The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain). I knew it would be dark and gritty, and did turn out to be too much in that direction for me, even at only 130 pages.

    Rob Roy doesn’t sound like my kind of book, for other reasons. I did not know much about Sir Walter Scott so I am glad you reviewed this.

    • tracybham,
      I really wanted to read the book mainly because his stamping ground was close to where I used to live, and I now want to visit the places mentioned that I haven’t visited before, so it was good from that point of view.

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