Elizabeth Clansham by Catherine E. Chapman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In pursuit of fulfilling her literary promise, Elizabeth Clansham moves from London to Scotland, seeking the quiet solitude of the croft to motivate her to write her novel. Teaching English to both a group of students by day and older folk by night, Elizabeth finds herself among yet apart from the townsfolk.
The adage “write what you know” plays a cruel trick on Elizabeth – she finds she doesn’t “know” anything worth writing about, since she hasn’t experienced anything worth noting. It’s not until she finally admits to herself that she must reach out of her comfort zone to find experiences that would give her novel substance, she casts aside her stiff demeanor and simply starts Trying.
The author does a fine job of using dialog to bring her characters to life, yet Elizabeth is still a mystery for most of the story. Other characters, including Andrew, Lauren and Dorothy, provide valuable insight into the character of Elizabeth. While the ages of the characters are largely unknown, since the British school systems and customs differ from the American, the reader can still follow along with the complexities of youth. Elizabeth Clansham is a finely-crafted tale of social interactions, of love and of finding yourself, all tied up into small-town life in the croft.