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The Ninth Child Reviews

The Ninth Child by Sally Magnusson

The Ninth Child

The new novel from the author of The Sealwoman's Gift

Sally Magnusson

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Two Roads
Publisher: John Murray Press
Publication date: 19 Mar 2020
ISBN: 9781473696600

1856, the Scottish Highlands. A spellbinding novel of a young doctor's wife, Isabel Aird, struggling to make her childless life meaningful, unaware that the sinister Robert Kirke is watching her every move when she becomes pregnant again. From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Where Memories Go and The Sealwoman's Gift.

4 stars out of 5
1 Apr 2020

"The hard facts of Glasgow’s history mix with fantasy"

While this book will undoubtedly be popular with fans of historical fiction, the language borders on the flowery and clichéd at times. Phrases like “her parasol-a-twirl” and “matters which Highlanders drink in with their 
mothers’ milk” might make some readers feel like gnawing off their own elbows. What Magnusson does well, however, is create a strong sense of place, really tapping into locations such as Loch Katrine and Doon Hill near Aberfoyle, where the mysterious real-life story of Robert Kirke is believed to have taken place. 


3 stars out of 5
Nick Rennison
29 Mar 2020

"an engaging but not entirely successful mix of folklore and Victorian history"

The Glaswegian Isabel Aird, haunted by a succession of miscarriages, joins her husband in the Highlands, where he has a new job as physician to the workers on an engineering project. Pregnant once more, she encounters the enigmatic Robert Kirke, who claims to have returned from a 150-year sojourn in the land of faery. Their meeting triggers a tragic sequence of events in which realism and fairy tale prove uneasy partners.