‘From the harshness of a pit village in Scotland to the upheaval of wartime, No Small Shame tells a moving story of love and duty, loyalty and betrayal, and confronting the past before you can seek a future.’

In ‘No Small Shame’ Mary travels from Scotland to Australia as the world moves towards war. She travels from childhood to the responsibilities of adulthood, compelled and not always supported by family. Dreams are such tricky things to keep hold of.


I was really looking forward to attending the launch of this book, but of course it was unable to proceed as expected. I’ve known the author, Chris, for a long time, and this launch has been a long time coming. I really wanted to be able to celebrate this achievement.

Undaunted (or perhaps daunted but even more determined), the launch was transferred online. And it was a brilliant launch, with launcher and author in their own homes, and questions typed in and then answered live.

I ordered ‘No Small Shame’ from my local bookseller once it became clear I wouldn’t be able to get it at the launch. I held off reading it until after the launch because I wanted to hear Chris talk about it first.

And then I held off again. I couldn’t articulate why, but I’ve heard from other bookish types that they too have not been reading at their usual rate during this pandemic.

And then I began. And continued, with only meal and sleep stops, until the last few chapters. I slowed down, because I was so invested in the lives of Mary, Liam and Maw. I knew what I thought was going to happen, and I was terrified it might not. Suddenly, I found I had time to make that really simple apple cake/slice that’s doing the FB rounds. I cleared another cupboard. I had checked to see where the story ended (and acknowledgements began) to make sure I didn’t arrive unexpectedly.

Finally though, I needed to read those last chapters and close the book. Enormous congratulations, Chris, for showing the same determination and tenacity as Mary. It’s a wonderful story, full of timeless struggles between love and loss, bravery and responsibity. Thank you.