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The Ninth Child

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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, by the Sunday Times bestselling author Sally Magnusson.

Loch Katrine waterworks, 1856. A Highland wilderness fast becoming an industrial wasteland. No place for a lady.

But Isabel Aird, denied

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published March 19th 2020 by Two Roads
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  91 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Amalia Gavea
'''Tis thin, this place of water and stone and tree. Here meet north and south, Highland and Lowland, Gael and Scot. Here are mountains made too thin for awe; burns that idle over-prettily, the maist o'them, for the making of grand waterfalls; lochs rendered so gay by silver-green woodland that a man could forget- aye, and a woman too, my lady of the bellowing dress- the depth of their blackness. The most profound separation in all existence is at its most thin here as well. Perilously thin. ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4-5 stars.

Im still a bit stunned actually. I think this book is fantastical, magical and mystical and I love that it is set within real events and with characters of the time. The timescale is 1856 to 1859, the main setting is Loch Katrine and Loch Chon (which means dog in Gaelic) in the Trossachs. There is a huge public health scheme to provide clean water for Glasgow by building a series of aqueducts and tunnels from Loch Katrine 26 miles to a reservoir for clean water. Cholera is rife and
Louise Wilson
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set in 1856

Isobel Aird is the wife of a doctor. Unfortunately, she seems unable to carry a baby to term. She's had several miscarriages and struggles to find a sense of worth. Isobel has had eight miscarriages and with her role as a Victorian Lady trying to fit in with the social norms of her time.

Theres also an aqueduct being built to being fresh water to Glasgow from Loch Katrine. It's hoped that this will put an end to the epidemic cholera that's rife in the city. Thenstory focuses on the
Sally Magnussons first novel, The Sealwoman's Gift, was excellent so Id been waiting with baited breath for her second. The historical background is the building of the aqueduct system from Loch Katrine to the Milngavie Reservoir to supply the City of Glasgow with fresh drinking water. Cholera was rife so this was a very forward thinking public health programme for its time. The system was opened by Queen Victoria in 1859 and has been supplying clean drinking water to the city ever since so, ...more
Louise Wilson
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 1856.

Isobel Aird is the wife of a doctor. Unfortunately, she seems unable to carry a baby to term. She's had several miscarriages and struggles to find a strength of worth. Isobel has had 3ight miscarriages and with her role as a victorian Lady trying to fit in with all the social norms of her time.

There's also an aqueduct being built to bring fresh water to Gkasgow from Loch Katrine. It's hoped that this will put an end to the epidemic of cholera that's rife in the city. The story
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I do admire Sally Magnussons writing skills, displayed to terrific effect in this, her second novel. A work of fiction based on several factual strands - the engineering feat of bringing clean loch water to Glasgow, the pioneering work in anaesthesia and antiseptics, the teaching of Florence Nightingale, the attachment Queen Victoria felt towards the Scottish highlands - all interesting stuff. She is particularly good at writing in distinctive, individual narrative voices - from the ex-crofter ...more
Dec 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A story based on the building of the aqueduct system in the City of Glasgow that carried fresh drinking water during the cholera epidemic, the story highlights the difficulties in building such an efficient system which was later inaugurated by Queen Victoria.
Our protagonist, Isabel Arid, the wife of a doctor falls in love with a writer and an Episcopalian minister, who dies two centuries before. As you can guess, the story has elements of magical realism, which didn't always sit well with me.
Joy Perino
I loved the idea of this book, and couldnt wait to read it. However, I found I just couldnt get into it.

The narrative jumped confusingly from one person to another, so that a lot of the time I had no idea who was narrating. The style was at times quite dense and not very readable. In all, the story pretty much vanished under the weight of these issues.

Although the descriptions were lovely and the idea an intriguing one, it was too erratic in narrator, style and storytelling to hold my attention.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Its 1856 in Scotland its the start of the Industrial revolution where they are planning to build a aqueduct between Glasgow to Lock Katrine to bring fresh water and stop the Cholera epidemic.
Isabel Aird is a doctors wife who helps patch up the construction workers while her husband is out in the field. She is also a woman coming to terms with the loss of her children she cant bring a child to term. She has lost 8 children. The story also includes the story of Queen Victoria and the time when she
Alyssia Cooke
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a well written book with intertwining threads of history and fantasy that work well together, even when you think they shouldn't. Set in the mid to late 1850's, The Ninth Child sits squarely in Queen Victoria's reign as the country suffers from epidemics of cholera with death tolls rising. Isabel and her husband Alexander Aird move to Scotland, where there is a huge public health scheme to build aqueducts and reservoirs in order to improve the quality of water in Glasgow. I found this ...more
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story which is based partly on real characters and real events. Sally Magnusson has managed to weave a narrative that includes a supernatural element (the world of the faery) into the lives of the people who lobbied for, designed and built the system that brought clean water from Loch Katrine to Glasgow in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is totally credible, engrossing, enjoyable and very creepy at times.

I loved the inclusion of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful tale of hurt, nature, the industrial revolution and fairies all wrapped up in beautiful language and a light touch to the prose.

Isabel is a poor soul who you yearn to comfort and support which makes the friendship with Kirsty both surprising, given their different social status, and welcome. As a woman I really felt that Kirsty was exactly what Isabel needed.

The land around Loch Katrine is expertly portrayed and you can feel the healing balm of the low highlands work on Isabel.

Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book combines Scottish folklore with real figures from history to tell a story centred around the development of the waterworks around Loch Katrine in the mid 19th Century.
The writing style is beautiful and evokes the dark and mysterious atmosphere perfectly. The shift in narration between characters was quite confusing at times but overall gave the impression of floating above the highlands and zooming in on moments in time to tell the story. I liked this style and found the story
Allyn Nichols
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A stunning read! Beautiful scenery, characters full of life and emotion that you can feel. A tale of love , loss and myth brought to life. The last third of the novel had me on the edge of my seat. Absolutely fantastic!
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Having very much enjoyed Sally Magnussons debut, The Sealwomans Gift, I was excited to get hold of a copy of her next novel, The Ninth Child, and it didnt disappoint. Set in the late 1850s, the novel focuses on an ambitious engineering project at Loch Katrine that aims to supply fresh water to Glasgow to reduce the impact of cholera epidemics in the city. Isabel Aird has been drawn reluctantly into the project after her husband accepts the post of doctor, serving the navvies who are frequently ...more
Anne Goodwin
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A compassionate story of the clashing cultures of science and superstition, of male and female, rich and poor.
Full review
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
It is Scotland in the 1850s. Isabel has had a series of miscarriages and doesnt have the longed for baby. Her husband, Alexander, and she are becoming distant as they struggle to cope with their losses. Alexander throws himself into his role as the Doctor for the huge project at Loch Katrine where tunnels are being dug to provide fresh water for Glasgow. He is astonished when Isabel decides to accompany him there, where she is isolated amongst the hills. There is little company bar a navvys ...more
Daphne Sharpe
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book that combines the history of the industrial revolution in Scotland, namely the Loch Katrine water works, that supplied Glasgow with fresh , clean water, and the unknown world of the Fairy folk, so beloved of Scotland. I learnt much from this novel, that I had no idea about. During my Nurse training, we were taught about health and hygiene as set out by Florence Nightingale, cleanliness and fresh air, and the importance of fresh clean water, Chadwick and his attempts to provide ...more
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My thanks to John Murray Press Two Roads for an eARC via NetGalley of The Ninth Child by Sally Magnusson in exchange for an honest review.

It was published on 19th March and as I was confident that it was my kind of novel, I obtained its audiobook edition, narrated by a full cast, to listen alongside reading the eARC.

This is a fascinating work of historical fiction that was inspired by the mysterious death in 1692 of the Reverend Robert Kirke, author of The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns,
Charlotte Betts
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
An intriguing mix of fact, fiction and fairy-tale fantasy. The Ninth Child is set in the Highlands of Scotland on the shores of Lake Katrine in 1854. This unspoiled area is the location for a vastly disruptive engineering project to tunnel through the mountains to bring clean water to the festering tenements of Glasgow.

Dr Alexander Aird takes up a position of ministering to the workmen injured in this dangerous undertaking. He brings with him his wife, Isabel who is grieving for her eight
Annette Jordan
The Ninth Child by Sally Magnusson is a strangely compelling blend of magical realism and historical fiction, and while I am an avid reader of the latter, the former often leaves me cold, but not in this case I am pleased to say. Set in Scotland in the 1850's , the book combines real historical events and personalities with a fictional story of love , loss and the fairy folktales of the Scottish highlands. The focus of the story is Isabel Aird, the wife of a doctor who is working on the site of ...more
I received this pre-publication e-book from John Murray/Two Roads via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (Review posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon.)

The Ninth Child tells the story of a massive 19th century engineering project of pipes and aqueducts bringing fresh water from the Highlands into Glasgows disease ridden heart. Isabel Airds husband is appointed doctor to the engineering camp, and accompanying him takes her to a world entirely at odds with her prior life of drawing rooms
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having really enjoyed Sally Magnusson's first novel, The Sealwoman's Gift, I was very keen to read her latest fiction, The Ninth Child. It confirmed for me that Sally Magnusson is a superb story teller who meticulously researches the locations and events of her tales. Issy Aird, the book's main character, is a s middle class Victorian woman, married to a Glasgow doctor. They move to rural Scotland (the Trossachs) so that her husband can work as a doctor for those involved in the building of the ...more
Gem ~ Bee
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved how original and mystical this book is, how it weaves Scots folklore in with historical figures/accounts and adds some brilliant fictional characters that make you feel like you are there listening to Kirsty's story.
It was a slow start and it took a couple of determined goes before I sank in to it but once I could see the characters and who was each giving the narrative it grabbed me (it is split prose with different perspectives and the Netgalley I received didn't have any dividing
Caroline Price
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the first novel I have read by Sally Magnusson, TV presenter, journalist, author and daughter of Magnus (I've started so I'll finish) Magnusson. Ms Magnusson comes from a Scottish/Icelandic background and this novel is liberally laced with the myths and legends of those countries. The story revolves around Isobel, a doctors wife who, despite many attempts, is unable to have a healthy baby. She has been through many miscarriages and, when the story begins, she and her husband have grown ...more
Jacqui Huntley
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing novel but with a lot of interesting fact too. Beautifully written story set in mid-19th century Scotland with disease-ridden poverty in the Glasgow slums, engineers and doctors striving to bring clean water to the city, navvies and families toiling in the pristine hills disturbing the faerie folk below. The main character is Isabel Aird, wife to a doctor, married six years with eight mis-carriages behind her and trying to find a place beyond looking gracious and breeding in a society ...more
Like Hannah Kents The Good People and Sarah Perrys The Essex Serpent, this is an intense, convincing work of fiction that balances historical realism with magical elements. In mid-1850s Britain, in the wake of a cholera epidemic, there is a drive to ensure clean water. Alexander Aird, hired as the on-site physician for the Glasgow waterworks, moves to the Loch Katrine environs with his wife, Isabel, who has had eight miscarriages or stillbirths. With no living babies requiring her care, Isabel ...more
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bests selling author Sally Magnusson has here combined historical facts with Scottish folklore and mythology to produce a wonderfully entertaining and thought provoking read that has its central premise what happens when the new world collides with the old and what the hidden consequences of this might be. First set in 1856, it tells the story of the building of the Loch Katrine waterworks which would take much needed unpolluted water to the city of Glasgow. In the early 19th century cholera was ...more
Purple Lorikeet
Firstly I would like to thank Netgalley and John Murray Press for sharing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to like this a lot more than I did. There's a lot of historical context with regard to the building of the waterworks at Loch Katrine in the 19th century and the good it would do to battle cholera. I like many parts of the story of the story between Robert Kirke and Isabel Aird. Isabel is a very sympathetic character, having gone through eight pregnancies in as many
Narah Quinn
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As this is a NetGalley, I appreciate that formatting can sometimes be a real issue, and it is in this, it needs a lot of work before release, but I don't know if its a formatting issue or just a way it is going to be issue. The problem is, if it's the latter, you will spend good portions of your reading time going back to see where the character change was. It does get a bit easier to tell, but initially, it's incredibly hard to pick up on especially Kirke, as his bits start off being just one ...more
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