John Bell is a man with a burning ambition, which he single-mindedly pursues with no thought for the effect his actions have on his family.
A lawyer by profession, he founds the Glasgow Pottery with his brother Matthew, to help fund his acquisition of what he hopes will be an unrivalled art collection. He hopes it will become his legacy to the city of his birth, and secure his name in history.
While nineteenth century Glasgow rapidly changes around him, he lives in the past but with his eyes fixed on the future, and neglects his present with tragic consequences.
Told from the viewpoint of different members of the family, it is a story of how one man’s obsession dominates and controls the lives of those around him, and of the ultimate folly of the personal vanity of one man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
A Fine, Interesting Tale!
I’m always keen to read books set in Glasgow – it’s our closest city!
This is the story of the Bell family; the same years told by several family members, all with something different to add to the tale. John, the eldest son and his brother Matthew are like chalk and cheese; they have entirely different characters and very different views on how to conduct their lives. When they set up the Glasgow Pottery, John hopes it will fund his art collection which he intends to leave to the city as his legacy. But does everything work out as planned?
The author does a fine job of showing the differences between the two brothers; the writing is quite formal which very much fits in with the period. I knew nothing of the Glasgow Pottery and found it all rather fascinating – even more so on discovering that it was finding pieces of it in her garden which prompted the author to write this novel. In my experience, siblings are very different and I found myself engrossed in the lives of John and Matthew. Without knowing everything necessary, I think the author has produced a very readable and appealing story, and one which I enjoyed. An extremely interesting read and, for me, earning all four stars!
My thanks to the publisher for my copy; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.
Tags: historical family saga
- Format: ebook, paperback
- Size: 301 pages
- Publisher: Austin Macauley
- Publication Date: 30 November 2021
- Book Links:
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M F Tatner was born in Liverpool but moved to Scotland 40 years ago to start a career as a scientific researcher and university teacher. This is her first novel. She was inspired to write it after collecting Bell’s pottery for several years, having dug up pieces of it in her Renfrewshire garden.