The second compelling novel in the Nicholson Quartet sees Kirsty and Craig struggling to keep their family together...
Imprisoned in a false 'marriage' and trapped in Glasgow's mean streets, Kirsty and Craig Nicholson are drifting apart, held together only by their son, Bobby. Kirsty finds herself drawn more and more to David Lockhart, the young minister who cares for her deeply. But David is bound to return to China and only his love for Kirsty keeps him in Scotland.
Craig, now a committed policeman, is incensed by the behaviour of his family when they fall under the influence of a rich and generous patron, and seeks solace in the arms of a street woman from the burgh's dark slums. His growing obsession with her threatens not only Kirsty, but the future of his family too . . .
Volume two of Stirling's Glasgow trilogy ( The Good Provider ) is a dazzlingly adept period piece set in the drizzly, cold confines of Victorian Scotland as the 19th century draws to a close. Young Kirsty Nicolson feels the pinch of a mean and loveless life with her common-law husband Craig, a stiff-necked constable, and their son Bobby, who shackles them together. Crowded into a tenement with Craig's carping mother Madge, his raffishly charming brother Gordon and sister Lorna, Kirsty dreams of love in the arms of David Lockhart, a handsome, upper-class minister. It seems hugely unfair that Madge should be the one to move up and out when wooed by Breezy Adair, a sharp businessman who has feathered his nest with a string of shady deals. In Sterling's absorbing and convincing portrayal, this intricately calibrated cast of characters is bound by the dictates of respectability and duty, but driven by more powerful desires. This is top-notch historical fiction, written with intelligence and flair.