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Dancing at the Rascal Fair

by Ivan Doig

Series: McCaskill Trilogy (2)

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9002523,923 (4.19)115
Chronicles the American experiences of Angus McCaskill and Rob Barclay, Scottish immigrants, who lived for three decades in Two Medicine Country at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
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» See also 115 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
There's Everything to love about this ENGLISH CREEK backstory, form Ivan Doig's vivid and compelling descriptions
of The Two Medicine land and its ever-changing weather to the engaging and honest characters.

Where it slips, and loses a half star, is allowing Adair to insistently refer to herself in the third person,

As well, there is no explanation at all why good old Anna did not prepare Angus by simply writing to him from her
new summer of lust with Isaac. That alone should have made him let go of his eternal Anna obsession.

From the opening death of the beautiful horse Ginger to many character's deaths,
none was less necessary to the plot than my favorite character, Lucas Barclay.

Many readers may still be singing along with "DANCING AT THE RASCAL FAIR"! ( )
  m.belljackson | Nov 8, 2023 |
This is the story of two friends from Nethermuir, Scotland, who decided to take a chance on a new life in America in 1889. Rob Barclay was the most enthusiastic, and he had a prosperous relative already established in Montana who sent money home every Christmas---surely he'd be able to give two eager young men a grand start. Angus McCaskill was slightly more cautious, but ultimately took the plunge into steerage along with Rob. Their adventures with homesteading, sheep ranching, schoolrooms and matrimony make marvelous reading, as usual with Doig. This one I found a little more heart-wrenching than others of his; there is sadness, loss, bitterness and regret along with loyalty, duty, dancing and love at work here, and its realism is remarkable. I subtracted a star for the fact that I could see several plot developments coming in the last third of the book, and then put half of it back because it was all done so darned well, and because when all was said and done, our Angus realized what was critically important to him and clung to it.. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Oct 23, 2023 |
Good story of friends in early Montana, who came from Scotland are new to the rugged area. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Slow at the beginning, to give you the needed backstory, I'm glad I stuck with it. Once it picks up, the telling is similar to the Montana Whistling Series by Doig. This is the book that is recommended as the one to begin with for the Montana Trilogy. ( )
  BoundTogetherForGood | Jun 2, 2022 |
Splendid family saga. Rob and Angus emigrate together from Scotland to Montana at age 19. The book covers about 30 years, 1890 to 1920, of their relationship as sheep ranchers. Their lovers, their wives, their children. There's not much plot here, just the ups and downs of frontier living. It's very richly written, evocative. ( )
  kukulaj | Jun 30, 2020 |
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Epigraph
Scotchmen and coyotes was the only ones that could live in the Basin, and pretty damn soom the coyotes starved out. -Charles Campbell Doig (1901-71)
Dedication
For Vernon Cattensen, who saw the patterns on the land
First words
To say the truth, it was not how I expected -- stepping off toward America past a drowned horse.
Quotations
...she had a mind like a magic needle.  It penetrated every book I managed to find for her, and of my bunch in that schoolroom Karen was the one spellbound, as I had been at her age, by those word rainbows called poems.
I was told once I am a great one for yesterdays, and I said back that they have brought us to where we are.
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Chronicles the American experiences of Angus McCaskill and Rob Barclay, Scottish immigrants, who lived for three decades in Two Medicine Country at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

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