Beyond the Blue

Publisher: Vintage Canada
In a Scottish mill town purged of men by war, four unforgettable women navigate a treacherous time, guided only by the bonds of family and their bold dreams of escape.

In 1918, rainy Dundee is nearly emptied of men. The Great War has left the town’s women both newfound freedom and servitude. They toil in the deadly jute mills, taking in the children of perished family members and praying their own bodies – and spirits – do not fail them too.

A grateful widow of the war, Morag shelters her daughters as best she can: beautiful Caro schemes to escape the working class with well-calculated seduction, while Wallis works in the mill alongside her mother, slowly fortifying both spirit and pocketbook for a more radical departure. Morag’s orphaned niece, Imogen, seeks to understand her fragile mother’s death, and the return of the father who abandoned them.

Infused with the longing, courage and passion of its indelible cast of characters, and steeped in the faith and terrors of its time – from the suffragettes and the Easter Uprising to the influenza pandemic and the Tay Bridge disaster – Beyond the Blue is a lyrical, reflective novel about finding purpose and freedom in a place without hope.

From the Hardcover edition.


Before the Time of Birds

“Dundee was known as a woman’s town or she town due to the dominance of women in the labour market. In the jute mills, women outnumbered men by three to one. A unique breed of women evolved from the hardship of life in the mills and the responsibility of being the main...
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“Riveting. . . . MacPherson is a great writer of luminous, haunting moments and scenes.”
The Vancouver Sun

“Written in succinct, lucid prose . . . MacPherson aptly delineates the circumscribed lives of the characters with sensitivity and grace. . . . Beyond the Blue is a thought-provoking novel.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“An intimate portrait of four women at very different stages of their lives.”
Edmonton Journal

Beyond the Blue is both redemptive and unique, a sensual story about secrets women keep and the lives they live.”
The Sun Times (Owen Sound)

"A compelling and important story of First Word War Scotland, a time when women redefined the word hope as the world was losing its innocence. Andrea MacPherson writes beautifully, balancing the lives of her characters between history and the poetry of gesture, secrets and love."
–Ami McKay, author of The Birth House

"Andrea MacPherson writes with compassion and honesty of women working in the jute factories of Dundee during WWI, who toil beneath ‘the foolish secrets of women.’ This beautiful novel, written in lyrical, strong prose, is a compelling, clear-eyed account of what constitutes hope and bravery, not only in the lives of mill workers, but in any life distorted by false memories and illusory dreams."
–Beth Powning, author of The Hatbox Letters

Praise for When She Was Electric
"Spare, elegant. . . . [MacPherson’s] assured, sensual debut reveals much about the secrets women keep and the hidden desires that propel us to action and stop us in our tracks."

"A delightful, poetic novel. . . . The language is beautiful and the complicated emotions of three generations of women are delicately portrayed."
–W.P. Kinsella, Books in Canada