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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  23 reviews
From the southern tip of Barra to the ancient stone circle of Callanish, Leonie and her friend Shuna ride off the beaten tracks on their beloved Highland ponies, Ross and Chief. In deeply poetic prose, she describes not only the beauties of the Hebridean landscape, its spare, penetrating light and its people, but also confronts the ghost of her mother and their deeply frac ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 19th 2020 by Sandstone Press
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  46 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some mother-daughter bonds are hugely strong and able to resist the traumas of all that life can through at them, others have much more traumatic relationships with their mothers, and Charlton was one of them. She took the brunt of her stepfather wrath too, as he blamed her for all sorts of things that were almost nothing to do with her. She left home at the age of 16, heading over to Australia to be a cowgirl, teaching in Japan and Catalonia to do a degree. She forged her own way in the world, ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved every single bloody page in this book, what a beautiful journey Charlton has shared with us here, a journey not just across land but across her past and into her Mum’s soul. Charlton recently lost her Mum, their life together wasn’t the greatest, too much Mother/Daughter clashing and it’s not until the last weeks of her life that Charlton realised what she had been missing out on. Her Mum travelled to the Hebrides on a number of occasions, so Charlton decides to take on a journey from Ba ...more
Ali Whitelock
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review of Leonie Charlton’s, ‘Marram’
––by Ali Whitelock
When people ask Leonie where she is from, ‘no, where are you really from?’, it is clear on reading ‘Marram’, exactly where that place is.

This is a story of grief, of landscape, of friendship, of ponies. To say that ‘Marram’ is beautiful, is not enough. It is a work of art––tender yet profound, a deep meditation not only through the islands of Barra, Benbecula, Harris and Lewis but also through grief––written with a poet's eye and a poet's
Fiona Erskine
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Grounded by lockdown, it was a glorious treat to be transported to the Outer Hebrides, to

“a necklace of granite and sand, schist and gneiss, strung on streams of fresh and salt water”.

Leonie’s slow journey from Barra to Lewis by pony provides time to reflect on her troubled relationship with her mother and to come to terms with her death. There’s nothing mawkish or sentimental here; this is a journey of healing.

Leonie has the perfect travelling companions: the ponies Chief and Ross; the islande
Margret Powell-Joss
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a moving account of a journey both physical and emotional. I won’t repeat the praise expressed in earlier reviews of Leonie Charlton’s evocative language—it’s just magical!

And I would also like to praise the publishers for a beautifully produced book. Such loving care with the layout, lovely visual details, and Leonie’s b/w photographs has become quite rare!

A great shame, therefore, that a far lesser degree of care is in evidence when it comes to spelling and other errors that have much dim
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-2020
I thought this book was a very good diary of a journey from Barra to Lewis with a couple of ponies. Some such narratives can become repetitive but Leonie Charlton avoids this. The writing is lyrical and the memories of her mother are, like those of many of us I am sure, a two edged sword. Having traveled in the Outer Hebrides I was looking forward to learning more about the areas I had visited and this book makes me want to go back and discover the places that Leonie and Shuna visited. With than ...more
Barbara Henderson
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous prose, evocative setting, compelling voice.
Such a privilege to be taken back to the Western Isles, even just for a few hours!
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a delicious book.
I’ve spent the last two days riding with ponies in the Outer Hebrides, surfing on lyrical prose which is full of light, of colour, of sound. I’ve shamelessly stolen phrases and images for my creative writing club, and am utterly in love with the narrative.
The book is an account of a true life adventure, set in early summer, of two friends taking two ponies on a trotabout up the most western of western isles off Scotland, finding love, art, joy and just how deep peat can
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome
This is a beautiful and poetic book. It seems a simple premise. A woman and her friend go on a pony trek through the Hebrides. It is a simple premise but, oh, it is so much more than that. It is deep, it is funny, it is endearing, it is heartbreaking, it is... well you get the idea. There is a lot to take you away from the current situation we find the world in. Never more did we need to wander along at the pace of a pony in a beautiful but bleak landscape.

"The strong aroma of coffee mingled wit
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vallay was an emerald green banner unfurling on our left; straight ahead, way out across the citrine sand the sea was a strip of dark aquamarines. Our world was a bright whip of mane and tail and marram grasses, and our smiles spun off into the sand.

Ideally I should stop reading books that make me yearn to visit the same places. Books that just increase my never ending travel bucket list. I feel I am running out of time, the world is going crazy and I just feel like crying because I don't see m
Alison Dawson
Apr 01, 2020 added it
Recommends it for: Those interested in Hebridean tales with the added equine interest.
Recommended to Alison by: Friends in my writing group.
Such beautiful word pictures - the setting for a perceptive and sensitive journey towards self-knowledge in the company of two honest as the day is long ponies and a very kind and supportive friend.
Marieke Van Der Meer
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, Marram was such a joy to read. Leonie honours the Outer Hebrides in three beautiful works of art: the beads and their placing, their means of travel and the horsemenship she and Shuna represent and her writing. I'd love to read more from this author!
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Made me feel lots of things especially as I'm far from my mother right now, truly stunning Leonie is magic x ...more
Jemima Pett
I confess I was a little nervous about the ‘but also’ bit at the end of the blurb, but this book is a delight to read.

It helps if you have a longing for the wild, wet and woolly Western Isles of Scotland. It helps if you too adore the idea of a holiday roaming around them on your Highland pony. It helps if you love examining lichen-encrusted rocks while absorbing the sounds of wind, wave and wildlife.

Leonie Charlton writes of her journey through the marram grass, across the sands and sea-fords w
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the story of the author, her friend and their amazing ponies on a three week trek through the Outer Hebrides, and it was a joy to read from start to finish. Reading it was like a meditation, the descriptions of the scenery were so beautifully written and the the pace made me slow down and enjoy the experience as they trekked through very remote landscapes, met a number of interesting and helpful people, were battered by the rain and winds and while the author reflected on her life and re ...more
Martha Brindley
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 28-2-20
This book tells the story of the author, her friend and their two Highland ponies.They travel from Barra to the island of Lewis on a remarkable and beautiful journey. As a child, my summers were spent on South Uist, my mother having been born there, and I was transported back to a simpler time when life was so much easier. Leonie has an eye for detail and a beautiful way with words. This is not just the story of a riding trip but also the relationship between mother and daughter, a truly magical ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An utterly charming, heart-felt read, perfect for anyone interested in emotional journeys as well as actual ones in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. A blend of adventure, travel guide, memoir and nature writing (not to mention the lovely fact that Leonie and Shuna undertook their journey across the Outer Hebrides on horseback. As a rider I know what an undertaking that would be - so brave!), it’s sure to tug on your heartstrings while you delight in the author’s way of seeing the little thing ...more
Kirsty Keddie
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I mostly enjoyed this little book. A love story to the wild western isles. Part travelogue, part autobiography. I realised that the author had grown up in the same part of Scotland as me, I had been to her mother’s workshop and bought some of her exquisite jewellery. And we shared the wise Willy McKay as our blacksmith. Her account of her difficult relationship with her mother was honest without being self indulgent and the idea of leaving a trail of beads was a lovely one.
A nice wee book though
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read this book. It is beautifully and imaginatively written, sensitive and quiet and internal, but never maudlin or twee. Maybe the influence of Robert Macfarlane in there, which is fine. Lovely photos, too, especially the one preceding Day Seventeen. With so much written about the outdoors and landscape, it's getting harder to cast a spell. This book did that for me. The author sadly has been let down by Sandstone's proofreading department (if they have one), with over 100 silly errors. But rea ...more
Apr 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Leonie's writing is excellent, descriptive and interesting. I had a problem with what happens to the ponies and I will just leave it at that.

I would love to read more of her writing but would be more discerning about what she chooses to include in her subject matter.
Apr 08, 2020 marked it as to-read
featured in The Simple Things Magazine - April 2020 Issue
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Stunning imagery, made me want to book a flight for my horse and I - would have liked a bit more plot to go with it.
Lisa’s Bookshelf
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Marram is an absolutely delightful read! I read the book during lockdown and I could almost feel the wind on the Hebridean m islands and hear the waves break as I read, unable to travel myself.

Very much recommended for lovers of travel/nature writing, armchair travellers and horse lovers alike. It’s a little marvel! 👌🏼
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