Review 1859: Music in the Hills

Music in the Hills is the second book in Stevenson’s Dering family series. The first book, Vittoria Cottage, is about Caroline Dering. This book has as its main characters Caroline’s sister, Mamie Johnstone, and Caroline’s son, James. The last book, which I read second, is Winter and Rough Weather.

James has returned from service in Malaysia and wants to become a farmer, so Mamie and her husband Jock have invited him to their farm in the borderlands of Scotland, Mureth, to learn farming. Although James settles in well and loves Mureth, he is unhappy, because he is in love with an art student named Rhoda. He proposed to her, but she has been clear that she’s picking her career over marriage.

This novel is mostly about the everyday events and people on the farm and in the nearby village, nearby in terms of straight distance but a bit remote along a hilly, twisty road. In the novel, as in the next, the landscape is an important character. There are two major subplots, however. One is about sheep being stolen from Mureth. The other is about Holly, the niece of Lady Shaw. She’s making a dead set at James, but there’s something about her that Mamie distrusts.

Another lovely book from Stevenson. I haven’t read Vittoria Cottage for a long time, but it makes me want to revisit it.

Related Posts

Vittoria Cottage

Winter and Rough Weather

Five Windows


10 thoughts on “Review 1859: Music in the Hills

  1. Jane May 20, 2022 / 11:10 am

    I love the sound of the whole series!

    • whatmeread May 20, 2022 / 11:12 am

      Yes, I enjoyed it! I wish I knew when I read Vittoria Cottage way back almost ten years ago that it was part of a series, because I could barely remember it.

  2. Helen May 20, 2022 / 11:55 am

    I really enjoyed Vittoria Cottage, but still haven’t read the other books in the series. I hope I can remember what happened.

    • whatmeread May 20, 2022 / 12:03 pm

      That was my problem. At least I had my old review to refer back to. They don’t really intersect much, though, except with a family relationship between characters. The last two are much more closely related. In fact, if you read the third one before the second, which I unfortunately did, you know how the second one is going to turn out.

  3. Dean Street Press May 21, 2022 / 11:11 am

    Many thanks for a lovely review, once again! We hope you enjoy the Alice Campbell titles.

    • whatmeread May 21, 2022 / 11:14 am

      I am reading Juggernaut right now and enjoying it so far. Thanks! I think I’m going to like her. I’d love some more from Furrowed Middlebrow.

  4. Lory May 21, 2022 / 12:00 pm

    Loved these. Books 2 and 3 form sort of a spin-off duet rather than being sequels to Vittoria Cottage, as we leave behind the setting and some of the main characters from that book. But all are worth rereading!

    • whatmeread May 21, 2022 / 7:09 pm

      Yes, we basically leave behind all of the characters from Vittoria Cottage.

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