Bring the Past to Life
by davie-d on 9 Nov 2012
My own family research has taken me back to Muirkirk in the mid 1800's, my family also miners, also suffered tragedies down the pits and because of the pits. They could have and probably did live only doors away from the McMurdos. Reading this book has brought my own research to life. Helping put words into the mouths of my relatives makes it even more enjoyable as a read.
But this isn't a book only to be read by genealogists.
As a novel this makes an excellent read, well written, well researched and keeps you interested to the end. Follow the McMurdo's through several hard years as they encounter drama after drama, heartache after heartache and still keep together as a family. Living in hard times they endure their hardships as a family, united till the end. I only hope there will be more of the McMurdo's journeys in the near future.
by Margaret Stirrat on 13 Sep 2013
I am interested in family history and enjoyed this story.Miners rows were a frequent sight across Ayrshire and my ancestors stayed in them.
First-Class Wee Book
by Rab McMurdo on 19 Jan 2014
Being an ex-miner myself, [from a long line of Ayrshire miners, my Dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, great-great-grandpa, great-great-great-grandpa George, who's mentioned in the book] I'm a distant relative of the folk in the story, and I still live in Ayrshire, so I may be a bit biased, but I'm not embarrassed by that! This is a great wee book, and I couldn't put it down till I was finished. Well done Carmel. Brilliant.
A Scottish Heritage
Mr. W. J. Neil on August 12, 2012
This is a first work of fiction by an author who has, nonetheless, much experience of writing for public consumption through her experiences in journalism and editorship. This experience certainly shows in the way she can set the scene for her story and the sympathy she can arouse for the characters who appear in it.
The setting is principally the Ayrshire coalfield in mid-19th century Scotland, a physically bleak and inhospitable area where the main occupations are the making of profits and fortunes for a few wealthy individuals and corporations. This is achieved through the extraction of mineral wealth in the form of coal and ironstone, using labour employed at the minimum possible cost to wrest these riches from the earth. Economies were maximised during these mining operations by the employers paying the most passing of attention to matters of worker safety and health. A terrible toll was paid by the workforce in death, serious injury and mutilation, not to mention deadly attacks on health by way of lung diseases and tuberculosis.
There were always workers to take the places of those who fell by the wayside as other forms of employment in the area were scarce and frequently even worse-paid.
Ms Audsley paints this scene dramatically and leads the reader into the poor and inadequate housing provided by the Mine Owners.
The novel's main characters are based on the author's own ancestors, enabling her to paint their personalities with the innate sympathy that that connection engenders and the reader is led immediately into the hearts and mindsets of them.
People Often Forget How Hard The Old Days Were
by Jim Loftus on August 6, 2012
Ours, Yours and Mines opens in the summer of 1861 and follows lives of the McMurdo's. A family, that would today thrive with their intellect, general hardiness, their work ethic, and their morals. However, these qualities cannot insure them against the terrible blights existing in 19th century Scotland. For those from the working classes options were few, and one of the most well paid was to be a coal miner - to work in the pits. To do so, a man had to be strong and be fearless. Trapped so far underground, working with the possibility of a mine collapse. Or, the escape of toxic vapours. The ever present damp. The lack of oxygen. Inhaling, the coal dust. These men basically sacrificed themselves for their families. Only a lucky few led long and healthy lives. As I said options were few. The McMurdo's, had central to their lives, generations of strong women who although beset by tragedies, deaths, one after another, create a loving haven for their loved-ones. There are days of summer and joy. Life is simple for the McMurdos and the gift of life is cherished, and enjoyed when it can be. But luck seem to desert them. The mines take their toll on the family and grandfather McMurdo dies in a freak drowning accident, subsequently only a part of his leg retrieved from a river, a macabre omen of impending doom. Mary McMurdo determined to break away from the mining life and its risks and what seems to be a cursed place, the Minder's Rows, escapes with her surviving family to Glasgow. Glasgow, where tuberculosis is sweeping through reaping from all walks of life taking young and old and particularly from the cramped unhealthy quarters, the cheap tenements of the poor.
The attention to detail is first rate. The author's deft hand puts forth very realistic depictions of the times.
Living in Scotland in the 19th Century
by Nancy Grant on August 8, 2012
This book will catch your interest from the first chapter. The author had presented the living conditions of the families of miners in Scotland in an easy to read format. If your family came from a mining community in Scotland during this time than this is a must read! The story of this family, the joys and the sorrows, is captivating. Well written and easy to read.
Tugs at your heart strings
by J M Slaven on July 15, 2012
I bought this book mainly because I was interested in period history, particularly in Scotland. The story is well told, unfolds at a good pace and keeps you interested. I had never heard about the miners rows of Scotland but the author's description made me feel like I was standing in the little two-room dwelling. You could almost feel the cold in the damp house while the snow piled up outside.
I admired the strength of Mary who had so much heartache in life and kept going regardless. There was a lot of sadness. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys finding out about how people used to live and how they coped with life. There's enough information about the coal mines and union activist Kier Hardie to keep men interested, and women would enjoy reading about how their great-grandmothers in the 19th century managed without any modern conveniences. An entertaining read.
by Anne McTurk Watrous on January 2, 2014
Loved this book. My Great Grandfather was a miner from Cumnock . Highly recommend it and can't wait to read the sequel.