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MARCHING IN SCOTLAND, DANCING IN NEW YORK is a moving and at times very amusing read about life as it was in the 1920’s and 30’s. It is about two large families who grow up alongside each other in the village that was sucked into the industrial melting-pot of Central Scotland to form part of the great city of Glasgow. A parallel story is played out in New York.
The protagonists are the Dennys, a Scots family of partly Irish descent and the Drydens from England.
The Dennys are not well off but with a fun-loving, somewhat devil-may-care attitude to life and a love of books and politics. The Drydens are home-loving, refined and cultured, for whom domestic skills and respectability are priorities. The families are thrown together socially through the marriage of Honor from the English side and Edward from the Scottish side. It is a journey through hard times and good times, but with fun and humour never far away. Tragedy strikes in a heart-rending desolate way, while love and sexual encounters are ever present. How do Honor and Edward and their respective families react to the events that surround them? Are they trapped by their circumstances? What lies ahead for them?
Susan Denny, Edward’s sister, leaves Glasgow to take up a post as a nanny in New York but will she cope with a dramatically different, fast and hedonistic lifestyle and with temptations far removed from her strict upbringing? Susan’s time in New York provides a parallel story to that played out in Scotland. Her rich employers, her liberated companions, and the tensions generated by the ties to home make Susan’s story gripping.
The story is drawn on fact – based on Margaret Dunlop’s family and friends in Glasgow where she was born and brought up. It has as its background many of the historical events and some of the real-life characters of the time, and as a backdrop some of the well-known landmarks of Scotland – and New York.
It is a story of a generation that founded ours and to which many of all ages will relate. It is a book of contrasts and brings to life the atmosphere of the time.
“Marching in Scotland – Dancing in New York” is published by Melrose Books in Ely, Cambs. (www.melrosebooks.co.uk)