Reviews, Scottish Reads

Luckenbooth

The devil’s daughter rows to Edinburgh in a coffin, to work as maid for the Minister of Culture, a man who lives a dual life. But the real reason she’s there is to bear him and his barren wife a child, the consequences of which curse the tenement building that is their home for a hundred years. As we travel through the nine floors of the building and the next eight decades, the resident’s lives entwine over the ages and in unpredictable ways. Along the way we encounter the city’s most infamous Madam, a seance, a civil rights lawyer, a bone mermaid, a famous Beat poet, a notorious Edinburgh gang, a spy, the literati, artists, thinkers, strippers, the spirit world – until a cosmic agent finally exposes the true horror of the building’s longest kept secret. No. 10 Luckenbooth Close hurtles the reader through personal and global history – eerily reflecting modern life today.

I bought this book months ago and swiftly lost it to my massive pile of unread books. One of my friends was reading this and had some feelings so needed someone to talk about it with, so this book got a chance to shine. Unfortunately it didn’t shine that brightly for me as I felt a little lost during this book and ended up giving it 3 stars and a promise to reread it.

The plot of this book really enticed me as I really enjoy books with multiple narratives but I also enjoy reading about curses. I was really looking forward to reading a spooky, creepy book.

This book started with Jessie, the devil’s daughter, travelling to Edinburgh and arriving at 10 Luckenbooth. Long story short, she curses the building and the story tells the tale of the inhabitants over the next 90 years. I really enjoyed the multiple narratives. Each person suffered from misfortune in some way but I wasn’t sure if they were cursed because of the building, some of the ‘curses’ seemed to have started elsewhere. I read this book hoping for more of the curse storyline, I do wonder if I missed some key points though.

I really enjoyed some of the stories, mainly the chapters with Jessie but also the chapters set in the 1940s, 1970s and 1980s. However I couldn’t quite see how the stories fitted with each other. I really enjoyed the gangster but just felt like I was reading a different book. A book I’d definitely read though.

Some of the older time periods seemed a little as if they had modern day attitudes which were nice but also I wasn’t sure how realistic they were…and then I remembered I was reading a story about the devil’s daughter and wasn’t looking for realism!

I absolutely loved how spooky and creepy the house was. Definitely the perfect setting for a wintery read. The chapters with the séance were exactly what I was looking for! I thoroughly enjoyed everything about those chapters.

I have spoken to some other friends about this book and based on these conversations, I wonder if I may have missed some key links in this book. I honestly wonder if this book is the sort of book that needs a second read. I will definitely be returning to this book at a future point though as I do think I will enjoy it even more next time! I will surely update this review when I have my second read.

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