Living with the Laird

Belinda Rathbone

When Belinda Rathbone, a New York art historian, met eccentric Anglo-Scots bachelor John Ouchterlony it was the start of a story of clashing cultures and crumbling houses. After a whirlwind romance she married the man – and his 400 acre estate and decrepit mansion in Scotland. In her charming and moving account of their time together she reveals her many discoveries about this strange world – not just the persistence of lino, and family history ancient and recent, but the value of dead elms, the art of the Aga, yoga with the aristocracy, and the vitally important business of producing an heir…

Reviews of Living with the Laird

  • ‘A new country house classic.’ Country Life

    ‘A gem of a memoir.’ Observer

    ‘I read “Living With the Laird” with admiration and sympathy…This is not only a personal story, but a perceptive analysis of the social mores of Scotland and a way of country life that seems to have continued over the centuries.’ Rosamunde Pilcher

    ‘It is difficult to remain unseduced by this winsome account of a misalliance between a New England woman of literary taste and architectural sophistication and a frugal Scottish laird in his dilapidated ancestral home.’ The Times

    ‘The poignancy of her fractured love affair with both the man and the house shines through…Perhaps only an ‘incomer’ could have written such an intimate and acutely observed account of a disappearing social order which deserves a memoir like this as a lasting testimonial.’ Spectator

    ‘Fascinating…the book lifts and excels in [Rathbone’s] description of her husband. In writing about John with affection, exasperation and sadness, Rathbone has managed to nail down a little bit of the Scottish soul in all its stark splendor.’ New York Times