The debut novel from one of the UK’s most respected and well-known journalists and broadcasters.

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle is a multi-generational story of love and belonging set on the Scottish island of Arran. 

‘Completely enchanting. The story of two women’s intertwined lives draws you in and holds you spellbound to the end.’

Penny Vincenzi

‘Gleams with beauty… a hymn to the stark beauty of the island of Arran. ‘


‘An excellent page-turning debut’



Elizabeth Pringle lived all her long life on the Scottish island of Arran. But did anyone really know her? In her will she leaves her beloved house, Holmlea, to a stranger – a young mother she’d seen pushing a pram down the road over thirty years ago. It now falls to Martha, once the baby in that pram, to answer the question: why?

A captivating story of the richness behind so-called ordinary lives and the secrets and threads that hold women together.

Dear Mrs Morrison,

A long time ago, almost thirty-four years past, you wrote to me requesting that I contact you should I ever wish to leave my home. I knew then that I would never live anywhere else, and so there was no point in my replying to you.

I saw you almost every day, pushing your pram along Shore Road. You looked very young. I remember that on one occasion you waved to me, and I think I tilted my head towards you. Perhaps you did not see. There have been times when that scene has come to me vividly, and I have wondered what has become of you both.

I am instructing my solicitor to write to you at the address on your letter. Holmlea is yours if you still wish it.

Elizabeth Pringle



‘Kirsty Wark’s first novel gleams with beauty. Part romance, part family history, mother-and-daughter fable and meditation on memory, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle has qualities of heart… something of great worth and beauty gleams through the narrative and haunts the reader with its imaginative truth… Wark’s presentation of a unique love unalloyed by sexuality is original and enthrallingThe Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle is a hymn to the stark beauty of the island of Arran.’


‘Curl up for this big-hearted romantic debut by the Newsnight presenter… A pulse of secrets drives the story along… affecting and tender.

The Sunday Times

‘The story is set in the beautiful Scottish island of Arran, a place Wark very obviously knows and loves… Wark’s story telling is direct, compelling and rewarding for the reader. She is a real writer who happens to do television.’

Daily Mail

‘The narrative switches between Elizabeth and Martha…The structure works well, demonstrating the similarities and differences between the two women. Both are well-rounded characters and their stories are engaging… Martha’s relationship with Anna is beautifully and touchingly written, a daughter helplessly watching her beloved, vibrant mother fade away… This is an appealing debut that sustains interest to the very last page. Elizabeth Pringle is a quietly heroic character and, like Arran, she never fails to charm.’

Independent on Sunday

‘Set on the Scottish island of Arran, Kirsty Wark’s brilliantly vivid descriptions bring alive a story that reaches across the generations.’

Mail on Sunday

‘The book is fresh and beguiling… Wark deftly and delicately plaits the intricate tales of three women… The narrative is packed with incidents but, for the most part, does not rush; it breathes, sighs, ponders. Wark has an exceptionally vivid sense of place… George Eliot paid homage to those “who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” In this novel some of those hidden stories are told and graves visited with real tenderness.’


‘Wark depicts the weather, the landscape and the inhabitants of the island so vividly that all I wanted was a ferry ticket

Woman & Home

‘An excellent, page-turning debut from the Newsnight presenter.’

Red Magazine

Elegant… the climax of her story is as satisfying as it is unexpected. The magic of the island, with its soft rains, carpets of flowers and ever-changing seascapes comes across strongly as Wark makes equal magic out of the extraordinariness of ordinary lives.’

WI Life

Deeply moving, this is broadcaster Kirsty’s debut novel and we can’t wait to see what else she’s got for us.’

Woman’s Way (Ireland)

Completely enchanting. The story of two women’s intertwined lives draws you in and holds you spellbound to the end.’

Penny Vincenzi

‘Arran is the perfect setting and there is a deep sense of belonging. The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle is a really good read.’

Rosamunde Pilcher

‘An intriguing marriage of past and present, and an absorbing narrative. It made me want to go to Arran.’

Penelope Lively



A reading guide written by the author to help book groups discuss The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle.


THE LEGACY OF ELIZABETH PRINGLE by Kirsty Wark – Book group reading notes by Two Roads Books



Kirsty Wark BBC presenter and author of the Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle

Kirsty Wark is a journalist, broadcaster and writer who has presented a wide range of BBC programmes over the past twenty seven years including Newsnight and the weekly Arts and Cultural review and comment show, The Review Show. She has conducted long form interviews with everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Madonna, Harold Pinter to Pete Doherty, Damian Hirst to George Clooney and the likes of Toni Morrison, Donna Tartt and Philip Roth.

Her home has always been Scotland and her family’s connection to Arran goes back over many years. At present she is working on her second novel.


Twitter: @KirstyWark


8 responses to “THE LEGACY OF ELIZABETH PRINGLE – Kirsty Wark”

  1. Lisa says:

    Moira McLaren
    Submitted on 2014/03/18 at 4:14 pm
    I have just finished reading “The legacy of Elizabeth Pringle” on my kindle and it was a wonderful story and so beautifully written. I was hooked by the characters from the first page and was amazed at how much I learned about Arran. I live on the Ayrshire coast and look to Arran every day when I walk my dogs on the beach but reading this book has made it come alive for me.
    I look forward to Kirsty’s next book.

    Many thanks


  2. Adrien von Ferscht says:

    I have just finished reading The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle and it is exactly as Penny Vincenzi says; it is spellbinding.
    It is an evocative and intricately interwoven story that embraces the full spectrum of emotions. Kirsty Wark’s passion for Scotland and life are skillfully and touchingly crafted in a way that makes one live every written word.

  3. Margaret Powling says:

    I am half way through this delightful and thought-provoking story, a truly excellent debut novel. I want to read more but don’t want the story to end, the mark of a good read!

  4. wendy hart says:

    I now want to visit Arran!! Couldn’t put the book down but didn’t want it to end either. It had me spellbound from start to finish and wanting to know more about Martha and Niall and Saul and Catriona. Thank you Kirsty. Will wait eagerly for your second book.

  5. linda blackwell says:

    I have just finished reading this wonderful book. I could not put it down, I loved every page. I hope Kirsty’s second book is out soon. Thanks for being a great new writer!

  6. GlynisHowat says:

    What a beautiful book. Enchanting, beautifully written, so full of life, love and living.

  7. Marion Bond says:

    A delight. As with Penelope Lively, it made me want to go to Arran – and I did just that last month whilst staying with my daughter in Refrewshire. We took the ferry for a day trip, hired a car when we disembarked and toured the whole island in six hours, visiting almost every place mentioned in the book. My only regrt was that there were no sailings to Holy Isle that afternoon as the weather was too inclement. Next time though…..

  8. Amanda Goodwin says:

    Just want to say a big Thank You for such a wonderful read. Ive devoured The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle and enjoyed every moment of reading. One of those wonderful books that you want to finish to see how it ends, yet you dont want to finish the book at all. Looking forward to the next book. Kind Regards Amanda G

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