Margaret Wilson - The Able McLaughlins

The Able McLaughlins

by Margaret Wilson

Published: 1923

Wully McLaughlin returns to his family’s Iowa homestead at the end of the Civil War to find his sweetheart, Chirstie McNair, alone and in distress, her mother dead and her wayward father gone. Perplexed by a new aloofness in Chirstie, Wully soon discovers that she has been raped and is pregnant.

To the shock of his parents and the tight-knit Scottish community in which they live, he marries Chirstie and claims the child, and the shame of its early birth, as his own. But the lingering presence of Chirstie’s attacker sets in motion a series of events that pit the desire for revenge against a reluctance to perpetuate the cycle of violence.

Margaret Wilson's debut novel was a success winning the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel although both the author and the book are mostly overlooked by modern audiences. The McLaughlins were the subject of both her first and last novels for an adult audience as the family was also the subject of her 1936 work The Law and the McLaughlins. Wilson wrote a children's novel in 1939 before disappearing from the literary scene until her death in 1973.

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