Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #66: Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott

Number of pages: 501

When I read Ivanhoe with its appearances by Robin Hood, I got the impression that Sir Walter Scott liked to introduce historic figures into his novels; this belief was reinforced by read this book.

The version I read was in the original text, which starts with a lengthy essay regarding Scotland several hundreds of years ago and the wars between individual clans; mostly this was a biography of the eponymous Rob Roy McGregor Campbell, known as the Scottish Robin Hood as he was a notorious outlaw. This was useful for giving some of the book's context in terms of the historical era in which it is set.

The story itself starts with the hero, Francis, being sent away after refusing to join the family business. This leads to him meeting a woman called Diane Vernon, but getting framed for treason; when this fails, the book's villain Rashleigh sets out to ruin Francis' family.

This novel was a bit different than I expected, as a lot of the first half of the book focusses on Francis' relationship with Diane, and Rob Roy does not appear until about half way when he assists Francis in getting revenge on Rashleigh, turning it into a classic swashbuckler. I found this to be quite a difficult book to read, mostly because it was quite wordy and long-winded, written in the form of a memoir from Francis. A lot of the time I had trouble with understanding the colloquialisms used (I have no idea what a "muckle" is), and I felt that I had to pay attention to everything that was happening in case I missed something. I did, however, like the vivid way in which the time period and Francis' travels through Scotland were portrayed.

While the plotlines involving Rob Roy were difficult to follow, I found myself enjoying the romantic plotline between Francis and Diane more. Starting with his jealousy of her other suitors, the book presents this as a romance that seems doomed to end in disaster, and it felt like they would never find happiness with each other.

Overall, I was satisfied with the book when I got to the end; the climax was epic, and there were some memorable moments. This is worth reading, but you need to be patient.

Next book: Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton
Tags: 19th century literature, academic, book review, british, classic, historical fiction, historical romance, history, literary, literature history, love, memoir, misery memoir

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