The Silver Highways

Published by Hodder and St Martin’s Press, 1987

At the height of the 18th-century canal-building mania young Mary Flinders, tiring of her life in Ireland’s Co Clare, sets out for London, fame, and fortune but, at first, meets only scoundrels, desperadoes, and unsuitable suitors. Life changes, not necessarily for the better, when she meets debauched “Old Q” the Duke of Queensberry.


  • Holds the reader’s attention from beginning to end. It is packed with fast action, memorable characters, and witty dialogue. Henry Fielding could not have created a more adventurous tale nor more humorous characters — Chattanooga News
  • Historical romance on a grand and humorous scale — Chicago Booklist
  • A heroine who will win everyone’s heart — Library Journal
  • What a cast of characters! — Columba Midwest Review of Books
  • A fine story and a refreshingly interesting theme — Westmeath Examiner
  • Each scene in this delightful tale is a perfectly drawn tableau brought vividly to life through sparkling dialogue and consummate period research — Rave Reviews
  • A corny over-long tale with unreal characters — Christine Newman Evening Press
  • A vigorous tale that captures the raw vitality of the era, marred only by a convoluted and illogical conclusion — Publishers Weekly
  • If all his book were as gripping as his concluding chapter, Macdonald would have written a superb novel. As it is, this is a mildly interesting story with special and expansive detailing of English canals in the late 1700s — Tulsa World
  • The ending is dramatic and improbable but exactly what one would expect from such an exuberant frolic — Rocky Mountain News
  • He is every bit as bad as Dickens — Martin Seymour-Smith



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