The MacIain trilogy begins with a letter from the mother of three sons. She is saying goodbye to all her sons at once. One is destined to move to England. The other to Glasgow and the third to America. And thus begins the saga of the three branches of the family in three countries.
I mentioned in another post how much I wanted to write about the Civil War, or at least let it be a backdrop to this trilogy. I didn’t realize, until I started writing Glynis’s story, how much it was there all the time.
Glynis was desperately in love with Lennox, her brother’s best friend, a man who had occupied all of her childish fantasies. He’d been her knight, her rescuer, a brave Highlander just like her ancestors. When it looked as if he would marry a Russian girl, she was heartsick. At her mother’s urging, they traveled to London to visit their English cousins. While there, she accepted the offer of marriage from a diplomat she had just met, a man who promised that she’d never have to return to Glasgow, never have to see Lennox again, and never have to pretend that his marriage didn’t break her heart.
After a short stint in Cairo, they were posted to the British Legation in Washington DC on the brink of the Civil War.
When Glynis was widowed, she returned home to Glasgow only to realize that the war had followed her in two ways. One was in the person of a union operative who knew too much about those years in Washington. But the war was also present in the slow destruction of the family business: the MacIain Mill. Without the cotton they’d always received from the southern states, there was no hope for the mill.
What was going to happen to her family? Her brother, mother, and the three women who were their servants (but more like family) all depended on the income from the mill.
There was also the matter of Lennox, now building iron clad ships for the Confederates States of America.
How did she keep him from knowing that she still felt the same about him?