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Saturday, 14 September 2013

HUG A BOOK with Chris Longmuir

Hug A Book is sponsored by

It’s HUG A BOOK and this weekend it’s with Chris Longmuir


You could win a Kindle copy of
A Salt Splashed Cradle

Meet Chris

Chris Longmuir - I won the Dundee International Book Prize in 2009 with my first crime novel. The prizewinning novel, Dead Wood, was published by Polygon and was so successful that the first print run sold out within four months.
Night Watcher is my second crime novel and is now published as a Kindle edition ebook. My third book in the series, Missing Believed Dead is now available.

 I have also published a historical saga, A Salt Splashed Cradle, set in a Scottish fishing community, and two books of short stories - Obsession & Other Stories, and Gost Train & Other Stories. I also write short stories and historical articles for magazines which are published in the UK
and the US. I am currently working on a further two crime novels. I am fascinated by electronic gadgets of all types and descriptions and am never happier than when experimenting with new hardware and software. I designed and put up my own website and build computers in my spare time. I describes herself as being a bit of a techno-geek.

Details of A Salt Splashed Cradle

This historical saga is set in a Scottish fishing village in the 1830’s and reflects the living conditions and the morals of the ordinary fisher folk of that time.
The novel follows the relationships of Belle, her husband, Jimmie, her daughter Sarah, her mother-in-law, Annie, and the rest of the Watt family.
James and Annie Watt are a typical fisher family, and Annie is horrified when Jimmie, her eldest son, brings Belle to the village as his new bride. She makes her displeasure obvious to Belle who struggles to find acceptance in the village. Belle is engaged in a losing battle however, because the villagers regard her as an incomer.
Jimmie, anxious to buy his own boat, leaves the fishing village to sail with a whaling ship. The story follows him to the Arctic
, and on a whale hunt, before he returns home again.
Meanwhile in his absence, Belle has fallen for the charms of Lachlan, the Laird’s son, and embarks on a tempestuous affair with him. When Jimmie returns she struggles with her feelings for him and for Lachlan.
By this time the women in the village are starting to regard Belle as a Jezebel who will tempt their men away. A mood of hysteria engulfs them and they turn against Belle, in an attempt to force her out of the village.
What will Belle do?
And will she survive?

Available for Kindle & paperback


A Salt Splashed Cradle

The walls of the house were closing in on her and the only sun Belle had experienced over the past six weeks had been that which sneaked in when the door opened. The boats had been to sea at least four times since Sarah’s birth and Belle had not been allowed to step outside the door of the cottage. Her nerves were now at screaming pitch, and she was convinced she’d been condemned to a life of green-tinged gloom.

‘You can’t go out until you’re ready to be kirked,’ Annie told her, ‘for it’s not a changeling you’ll be wanting.’
‘I don’t believe in your silly superstitions,’ Belle wanted to retort, but held her tongue. There were so many customs and beliefs held by the fisher folk that seemed strange to her, and she was finding it more difficult than ever to fit in.

‘You’ll wait to be kirked,’ Annie’s tone had been final.

Belle bit her lip but knew better than to argue with her mother-in-law. Anyway, how could she tell Annie why she did not want to be kirked, or why she did not want Sarah christened. She had too many bad memories of churches and ministers. Of the things her uncle had done to her, and the penances he had made her perform afterwards for making him succumb to the temptations of the flesh.
Eventually Belle’s longing for fresh air and sunshine became too much for her and she agreed to the kirking in order to get out of the house. Now, as she struggled to fasten her best dress, she pushed the thought of the christening to the back of her mind.

The heat of the sun struck Belle like a physical blow when she left the house. Narrowing her eyes against the impact she was not sure if she was crying for joy, or whether the glaring brightness was forcing the water from her eyes.

The villagers were already making their way to the church, up the path that led to the top of the cliff, and Belle could sense their curiosity. It shimmered in the air like the heat waves rising off the cliff, seen but unseen.

The shawl clad figures walked in little huddles that were in some strange way attached to each other, but separate from her. She was not one of them. Their eyes never seemed to meet hers, while at the same time they exuded a barely concealed air of contempt for her, bringing out all the feelings of worthlessness and vulnerability that she was trying so hard to suppress. It was just as well she’d put on her finest dress and daintiest slippers, because this was the only way she could show them she was better than they were in their dull, coarse skirts and blouses, and their heavy, ungainly shoes.

‘Belle,’ Annie’s voice sounded sharp, ‘the bairn will slip and fall out of that shawl before you’re halfway up the cliff path. Come back in and I’ll give you one of mine.’

‘Sarah’s fine, she’ll come to no harm.’ Belle forced the words out. She fingered the silk and wool shawl that she had wound round Sarah before strapping her to her breast and thought of the length of time it had taken to arrange the pattern and the fringes to their best effect. She did not want one of Annie’s shawls which were horrid homespun things. They were scratchy and uncomfortable and would hide what she was wearing. The clothes she was relying on to boost her confidence.

‘I’ll brook no argument. I’ll not have you kill the child, for that path’s steep and your shawl’s too silky to hold her. Take it off.’
‘Can I wear Belle’s shawl?’ Jeannie had followed her mother out of the door.
‘No you may not, and neither will Belle.’
Belle unwrapped Sarah and removed the silky shawl, reluctantly winding the one Annie handed her round her shoulders and round Sarah.

‘That’s better,’ Annie said, pinning it into place.

The shawl smelled of fish combined with soot from the fire, and the roughness of it scratched her neck. Belle felt like crying and her resentment of Annie increased. The baby did not seem to mind though, as she snuggled into her mother’s breast, alternatively sucking her lips and making little mewing noises.

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A chance to win a Kindle copy, simple enter on the coupon below.

Good Luck!


  1. Ooh! Thanks for featuring my historical saga - a Salt Splashed Cradle in this weeks Hug a Book giveaway competition, and if anyone wants some more info on researching fisher customs, plus some reviews of the book, then hop over to my own blog where coincidentally I've focused on this for my current blog.

  2. Oh this book is on my TBR pile! Sounds just fab! Tweeted and shared. x