About Standing Stones

Standing Stones is an evocative novel of 19th Century Scotland, seen through the challenges faced by one family of fishermen – the McDonnells.

Here is the trailer for Standing Stones (1 minute):

When Lord Gordon claims his Westness estate on Foulksay Island in the Orkneys, 1841, he evicts tenant farmers (crofters) to make room for sheep. Mac McDonnell, the eldest brother, head of his household, and a fisherman, protests the evictions, despite the impact his actions will have on his three brothers, Dougal, Colin, and Jamie; and his sister, Moira.

Peat Carriers (Stromness Museum, 2009)
Against Mac’s wishes, Moira goes to work at Westness. She falls in love and marries Dylan, an Irishman hired by Lord Gordon to help the fishermen retrofit their boats. When Dylan, pushed by memories of cholera and famine, seeks work on the mainland, Moira refuses to tell him that she is pregnant. 

A second protest at Westness turns violent, and a young crofter is trampled to death. Mac, arrested and sentenced to Van Diemen’s Land for seven years, tells his sweetheart, Diedre, to forget him. Mac is taken to a prison hulk in London to await transport to Van Diemen’s Land.

Meanwhile, Perkins, Lord Gordon’s factor, tears down the McDonnell cottage and confiscates their boat. Without work and facing starvation, what will the remaining McDonnell brothers do? Will Moira, now five months pregnant, find her husband in Inverness? Will Deidre follow Mac to Van Diemen’s Land?
Trumland, the original Westness
(Rousay Island, the Orkneys, 2009)

Standing Stones took second place for historical fiction in the 2010 Pacific Northwest Writers Association writing contest. PNWA judges called Standing Stones ". . . a very promising work, with appeal to a broad audience, peppered with a variety of characters the reader can identify with sympathetically or instantly distrust.” 

I took these pictures during a two month visit to Scotland. I have loved writing about the McDonnell's in Standing Stones. I'm continuing Mac and Deidre's story in Years of Stone set in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania). 

A third book, Rivers of Stone, will follow Dougal and Colin as they join the Hudson's Bay Company and travel across Canada to the Pacific Northwest, my home. 

If you would like to know when Standing Stones is published, click here to send me an e-mail at bluebethley@yahoo.com

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to see it in print, Beth!! Mac and Deirdre and all the gang live on in my mind, and I feel as if I actually time-traveled to their rocky, cold, fishy coast and shivered in their huts before the greedy lords drove them off their own land. Mac is The Man. I love him!!! and little brother Jamie - we need to see lots more of him. Keep us posted!


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