Married at 19, Katherine had four years of happiness with her beloved Gerald. When he dies, she is left on her own to bring up a stepson, Simon, and her own little twins. She has known what it is to be loved and cherished, and without Gerald, all she wants is independence, and the freedom to bring up his children as he would have liked.
When an unexpected letter arrives for Simon, offering him a very different life, Katherine is concerned that he makes the right choice. She is worn out with worries and difficulties; but a restful holiday in the Scottish Highlands restores her zest for living. And it is only then that she begins that independence is not as important as love.
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Nostalgia, but perfectly read
D.E. Stevenson could be described as a version of Marmite, only a case of 'love her or appalled by her'. I grew up with her books and had read them all by the age of 12 - a long time ago. My favourite was always Celia's House, closely followed by Katherine Wentworth and Katherine's Marriage.
Stevenson writes of a vanished world that was gentler - for some. Class distinctions are still very clear in both attitude and language which some modern readers might find uncomfortable, but that was how the world still was both between the wars, and in this case just after the 2nd World War. The books are of their time and in that context they are stories of kind people with the same struggles as anyone else, particularly about widowhood, children and money worries. Overlaid on that is a gentle love story with a genuinely happy ending.
Lesley Mackie is the perfect narrator for D. E. Stevenson's books. I've heard her read Celia's House and the Amberwell books, and she brings them all to life. I hope they never commission anyone else for any further Stevenson books.
Relax, immerse yourself in the fairly recent past, accept the slower pace - and enjoy it.