Margot McCuaig


A compelling story about roots, belonging and kinship set against the powerful backdrop of two houses in Kintyre. When twins, Rathlin and  Breacán Doherty, approach their twenty-seventh birthday, they come together after a long time apart to fight for their beloved Ballynoe, a house that is rich in folklore and which holds the ghosts of their parents. They slowly reveal their own secrets and uncover family lies that are shocking, far-reaching and tragic in their consequences.

Publication date: April 1, 2021
978-1-8380603-3-6 paperback
Price: £5.99
978-1-8380603-2-9 digital
Price £5.99

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About this book

Margot McCuaig is a writer and award winning filmmaker. Her acclaimed debut, The Birds That Never Flew, was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and longlisted for the Polari Prize. She was shortlisted in the 2018 Words and Women prose competition and the 2019 Mslexia Short Story competition. Her non-fiction work has been published in books and anthologies. She won Royal Television Society Scotland awards for documentary films she scripted, produced and directed in 2015, 2016 and 2019. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland, and in the home she built at Maoil na nDreas, Rathlin Island, Ireland.

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Book Type

E-Book, Paperback


Margot McCuaig’s Almost Then is the compelling tale of twins Breacán and Rathlin Doherty, and the dark secrets that bind and separate them. On the eve of her 27th birthday, Rathlin leaves the Glasgow housing estate, where she ekes out a life, for her birthplace on the Kintyre peninsula. She hopes to save her childhood home, Ballynoe, from the grasp of her loathed Aunt Ellen, and to heal the fractured relationship with her adored twin, Breacán.
Switching between Ellen and Rathlin, past and present, McCuaig reveals layer upon layer of lies, half-truths and broken promises that have created the faultlines of a family at war with itself. Age-old themes of betrayal and family violence are skillfully mined to bring new insights for the contemporary reader. It’s a story of love and passion, hate and despair, jealousy and guilt, violence and tragedy. McCuaig keeps the reader guessing right up to the end about the final outcome for her characters. A powerful story, beautifully told, about the past’s impact on the present and the future, and the unbearable burden of unbearable losses.
– Hilary McCollum, author of Golddigger