About this book
On their twelfth birthday, twins Rathlin and Breacán Doherty witness an accident that kills their parents in the forest behind their farm in Kintyre, Scotland. Despite their unique bond, sister and brother pull apart as they deal with their loss and grief. Nearly fifteen years later, they come together to fight to save the house in which they grew up. Its landscape binds them and tears them apart as they grapple with their past and present, and head towards a heartbreaking future.
About the author
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.
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