'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Friday, January 27, 2012

The House with the Green Shutters

click on image for Goodreads discription

This book written by Scottish writer George Douglas Brown was first published in 1901. It is a representation of the pettiness and greed and vindictiveness he knew of small town Scottish life. Our story takes place in the small village of Barbie, in eastern Scotland. John Gourley is the central character, a mean spirited and arrogant man who lords over the town folk. Situated in the center of town, the House with the Green Shutters is the expensive house he has sunk all his money into and symbolizes his prosperity. He is not a character you will like, nor is his wife or children. Actually there aren't really any characters that will warm your heart! This is a sad, tragic tale of how one man's arrogance and greed becomes his and his families downfall. 

Full of vivid and quite lovely descriptions, written in broad Scots, it might be a little tough to understand some things being said but you still get the drift of what is going on and is quite interesting to encounter for a change of pace. The first half of the book was very slow going and I almost gave up. The second half though picks up pace and all the action happens here. Quite a dramatic and tragic ending. All in all it is a good book and intense narrative of 19th century Scottish life.  

This dictionary would be of help if you decide to read this book! Dictionary of the Scots Language


  1. Peggy,
    I completely agree with you about the book, I think the town was aptly named Barbie as all the people seem to do is make barbed comments about each other. There is only one kind character in the whole book, the baker, who doesn't automatically think the worst of everyone. Sad to say that it is still much the same in small towns in Scotland, especially in the east where the people are well known for being miserable and unfriendly. The character Wilson's wife came from the west of Scotland and she was apparently cheerful and chatty and I think it's a shame that Douglas Brown didn't really do anything with the women characters. This book influenced Lewis Grassic Gibbon to write his Sunset Song books and I can see that he must have thought that it would be a good idea to write books with strong female characters as they are really overlooked in this book - which again is very Scottish, within families until recently it was really only the boys who were important. I'm glad you enjoyed the book in the end.

    1. Katrina, good observation about the towns name! Thanks for all the help with words and the insight into the Scottish life.

  2. Fab photo as your header. That really IS cold. I just found your comment on my frosty pics today! Any time you want to use my pics - and I'm so honoured if you do - then please feel free. A link back to my blog would be appreciated!
    I love the picture on the cover of the House with the Green Shiutters. That alone would tempt me to take a look inside! Going to hunt it down now.

    1. Thanks Evee! You take such beautiful pictures! Yes it was cold at Niagara when hubby took this! I love the falls in winter. We usually go for a 2-3 day get away in Feb. you should see the lightpost! the wind blows the build up of frost so it swings out and it is gorgeous on the victorian light posts. Can't get that pic on the computer though. Enjoy Green Shutters!


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