Review 1721: Winter and Rough Weather

According to the Foreword of Winter and Rough Weather, it is related to two other books by D. E. Stevenson, Vittoria Cottage and Music in the Hills. It has been a long time since I read Vittoria Cottage, and none of the characters in Winter and Rough Weather rang a bell. I finally had to look up my old review to find the link between the two is James, who is a minor character in this novel.

Jock and Mamie Johnstone are preparing for the arrival of their nephew, James Dering Johnstone, and his bride Rhoda. James and Rhoda will be occupying Boscath, the farm adjoining the Johnstone’s Mureth, except separated by a river that can at times be raging.

Rhoda has abandoned a promising career as an artist to marry James and at first finds herself unhappy in their remote farm that doesn’t have a telephone and can be cut off by weather. After a while, though, she makes friends in the area and begins painting again and teaching a promising youngster named Duggie, who is the son of Lizzie, the Mureth cook.

This novel has a firm sense of place in the border country of southern Scotland and has a host of mostly likable characters. It is about everyday post-war life there, although it has a few subplots—Adam and Nan Forrester, the village doctor and his sister, both have unhappy love affairs. The neighboring farm to Mureth, Tassieknowe, has been bought by a rich man whom everyone dislikes and who is running his farm poorly.

I enjoyed this novel and mean to look for the other one, Music in the Hills, which I believe comes before this one.

I received this book from the publishers in exchange for a free and fair review.

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10 thoughts on “Review 1721: Winter and Rough Weather

  1. Helen September 13, 2021 / 2:29 pm

    I read Vittoria Cottage a few years ago but I can’t remember much about it now. I would like to read this one, but I think I’ll try to read Music in the Hills first.

    • whatmeread September 13, 2021 / 2:42 pm

      Good idea. I just finished that one, and part of it was given away by reading Winter and Rough Weather first.

    • whatmeread September 13, 2021 / 5:06 pm

      What happened to me was that I read Vittoria Cottage years ago, and then the publishers sent me this book, which I read before I realized it was related to the other two. Then I forgot to post my review back in January, which was when the book came out. I read the second book this weekend. So, yes, out of order.

  2. Davida Chazan September 14, 2021 / 3:18 am

    Oh, this sounds good. Maybe I should ask Dean Street Press if I could get the ARC to this one as well.

    • whatmeread September 14, 2021 / 10:01 am

      I think you probably could. You might want to get Vittoria Cottage first, if you haven’t read it already.

      • Davida Chazan September 14, 2021 / 10:53 am

        No, I haven’t… Good idea. Thanks!

      • whatmeread September 14, 2021 / 12:11 pm

        Ask for Music in the Hills, too. Read them in order: VC, MitH, WaRW.

  3. historicalfictionisfiction September 21, 2021 / 9:36 am

    I read all three, and to me, “Winter and Rough Weather” was the best. I particularly liked the way the folks dealt with the winter, and was quite satisfied with James’s and Rhoda’s relationship.

    I had been apprehensive about Rhoda deciding to give up her art to marry James (at the end of “Music in the Hill”), because, as invested as she was in it, and as much as it defined her personality, I could see nothing but some silly melodrama in the third volume. Fortunately, Stevenson came up with an acceptable solution for me–and for her time, by inventing a male character who was sympathetic to his wife’s personal needs.

    I so enjoyed the opening chapter with Jock and Mamie and the endearingly exasperating house renovater, who kept promising Jock, “I’ll not let you down.”

    AND Rhoda’s relationship with Duggie. . .AND finding out who Duggie’s father is. . .and the HEA for Tassieknoe. . .altogether a very feel-good read.

    • whatmeread September 21, 2021 / 9:57 am

      I try not to give away that much of the plot, but yes, she salvaged that situation. In those days, the choice Rhoda had to make in the second book was considered a real one, but I kept thinking it wasn’t a real choice.

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