Ninth Child, The

Magnusson, Sally

  22 Reviews

The 1850s Loch Katrine waterworks are set to solve Glasgow's fresh water woes. Enter Alexander Aird, appointed to the ambitious project to care for the many labourers undertaking the dangerous work. And accompanying the good doctor is his wife Isabel, expecting for the eighth time but yet to have a successful pregnancy. In the beautiful Trossachs Issy's spirits begin to rise, but so too do otherworldly forces ...

Anchored with a bedrock of well-drawn characters and a strong sense of place, this enthralling story weaves a fascinating blend of science and superstition with its unique combination of historic public health and engineering feats, along with Scottish myths and legends.



Most us enjoyed this book. Sally Magnusson is astoundingly good at summoning up the essence of character and place and history.
AUCK 353
Took most of us a while to get into it, but was fascinating when we did.
NELS 043
Everyone enjoyed this book, appreciating how different yet equally good it was ( in a different way) to 'The Sealwoman's Gift'. Great author!
GISB 005
Everyone loved the book - the historical fiction aspect was really enjoyable.
'The Ninth Child' was well received by the majority of our group. All agreed that it was fascinating, educational and entertaining. The author cleverly intertwined historical fact with fiction. Some members were initially indifferent to the supernatural aspect of the story, but all agreed that 'The Ninth Child' was well worth reading. The Author's Note, together with the BDS notes, were helpful and contributed to our vibrant discussion.
AUCK 199
There was a mixed response in our group. Some members loved the book while others disliked the inclusion of Kirke and the fairy realm. These enjoyed the sections devoted to Queen Victoria, the historical veracity of the waterworks and the accurate portrayal of the crofters in Kirsty's narration. In their view the fantasy of the fairies was unnecessary. The use of various narrative voices was praised as successful but we all concurred in finding the ending hurried and unconvincing. People would read another book by this author however.
A bit of an Outlander-type story but set a bit later. Enjoyed the history of the Glasgow water supply, the influence of Florence Nightingale, the parallel with Victoria and Albert's ninth child - enjoyable read.
All members enjoyed this book and it stimulated wide ranging discussion and brought back memories for those who had visited the area. The book was well-written, however one or two had difficulty believing in the character of Robert Kirke as portrayed. Overall an enjoyable read with interesting historical detail and a fair degree of relevance to issues experienced by women, in particular, today.
DIAM 003
The group enjoyed this book - some appreciated the inclusion of the faery story-line, some didn't. Interesting, the drawing of parallels between working class, middle class and royalty. The distance between all never to be equal. Lots of research by the author which was very interesting. Also characters both real and fictional were fascinating. Health of people of all classes was paramount. Overall a very clever and interesting story.
Our group did not 'warm' to this book. The including of Queen Victoria and Albert did not enhance the book but confused us as readers. Too much going on! However it was well-written and researched. The concept of the belief in fairies was not easy to accept as readers - although we DO know it was based on belief. A book that started with promise but did not, in the end, deliver!
AUCK 015
An excellent read with excellent notes. We definitely recommend this book. The characters are clearly written, each with their own voice, often the lilting language of the setting, which is clearly described. There has obviously been considerable research to give the historical accuracy. Magnusson deftly combines fact with fantasy, giving the reader a moving spiritual story - one can't be too logical when reading it.
ROTO 006
Well received. Generated great discussion. People liked the well researched historical aspects of the book.
CAMB 003
We loved the book.
CHCH 241
Those that read it enjoyed it, but it took a while to really understand it and to get into the book.
AUCK 236
A very slow start but an interesting ending.
AUCK 143
This group had a very mixed response to this book. A few of us really enjoyed the book and also its structure, but on the whole it was not as popular as many others we have read.
WELL 187
Fascinating combination of fact, fiction and fairytale. Kept you guessing to the end.
AUCK 050
Generally very well liked. We enjoyed the historical aspect of the book, and the descriptions of the Scottish highlands were beautiful.
AUCK 069
We loved the writing, and the weaving in of historical events and faery stuff.
TAUR 004
Some found it slow to get into, and 2 found the different voices confusing, but the rest found it fascinating, especially as it was based on fact and meticulously researched. A lot of discussion about women's roles and difficulties.
WELL 047
Eight out of ten members of this book group enjoyed 'The Ninth Child'. We used 'Questions for discussion' on page 321 of the book.
NAP 005
Most of us agreed this is a well-written and interesting book, especially the engineering of the Glasgow water supply. The book provoked considerable discussion about the lack of medical knowledge at the time, the changing role of women in Victorian society and the social conditions of the Highlanders and in the Glaswegian slums... Not many were engaged with the Faerie world! We thought that the character of Isabelle was well-drawn and the role of the Royal Family slightly ambiguous!