Machrihanish: A Novel

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A young woman makes peace with her relationship with her father in Scotland with the help of some golf and his golfing buddies, in this sweet story centering on themes of family, friends, and golf.

Kate heads to Scotland after her estranged father is involved in an accident en route to his annual trek to Scotland’s Machrihanish golf course. Here, she meets his Scottish golf buddies and discovers life-changing lessons about herself, her father, and their connection – much revolving around their mutual love for golf. Machrihanish boasts numerous delightful characters that offer diverse personalities as well as international backgrounds that keep the story lively and entertaining. The narrative is sometimes dialogue-heavy, conveying the various accents of the different characters. Though this doesn’t always serve to move the plot forward, it does give a flavor of the setting and effectively conveys closeness of the golf buddies as they joke around with one another. Though somewhat stereotyped, protagonist Kate’s über-independence and guarded personality at the start of the story is nicely contrasted with her father’s golfing buddies’ extroverted natures. Kate’s initial caution and restraint also makes her transformation at Machrihanish all the clearer.

While there are a couple of picturesque descriptions: “the sun pierced the clouds, bathing the snowless globe in a brilliant amber aura,” the most captivating elements of this book are the illustrations featured at the beginning of the book and the start of each chapter. These painted impressions of various landscapes and scenes mentioned in the narrative offer a grounding feeling and personal touch to the story that complements the personalities of the small community.

Machrihanish is a charming story about growing, golf and the game of life.

Notes to author

Premise of the story is really great, and I can see it as fodder for a television series – like an American on the set of Monarch of the Glen. Narrative feels unbalanced – often dialogue-heavy and filled with banter, rather than dialogue that really moves the conversation forward. The fact that most of it is written to phonetically reveal the accent can, while setting the tone, might also slow down the pace for some readers.

When not in dialogue, the narrative sometimes leans toward quick summaries of telling versus showing, which makes it difficult to get and stay close to the characters throughout the story – for example, the moment when Kate is overcome by grief. This feels too brief and superficial and it’s hard to connect with her emotions. Some of her conversations with Margaret, for example, seem a bit stilted and shallow even though they are talking about ‘deep’ issues. One of the big distracting issues here is the continual switching back and forth in tense from past to present. Finally, it would have been nice to have more description of the setting in a book set on a Scottish golf course well known for its beauty. On many occasions, the narrative touched on it but didn’t go further. LOVED the illustrations. Wish there had been more of those to illustrate the setting. Love the name Alister – that’s my son’s name and it’s spelled that way!


Reviewed By:

Author Dan Miller
Star Count 3/5
Format eBook
Page Count 250 pages
Publisher Wee Egg Mon Publishing
Publish Date 19-Jan-2015
ISBN 9780986424410
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2015
Category Popular Fiction
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