Since my read of Kidnapped, I wanted to read its sequel, Catriona. But from my experience, I’m always very cautious when I tread on that ground, for more than once, I have been disappointed in that quarter. But Catriona didn’t disappoint me.
Catriona continues with the adventures of young David Balfour that began in Kidnapped. Having cleared his inheritance, he must save his honour on which a cloud hangs following the Appin murder. And he must also help his friend Alan Breck Stewart to flee to his exile in France. In Extricating himself and helping Alan to safety, David exercises a greater strength of character, courage, loyalty, and principle. Though a young man, he surpasses the maturity of a grown-up in executing his duties. David’s character was more developed and solidified here that I liked him as much as I liked him in Kidnapped. In addition to these daring adventures, young David finds love too. This is where our young hero shows his naivety and awkwardness. The daring young man in peril utterly blunders in his romantic efforts and almost loses the love of his life if not for the kind intervening hand of his friend Alan. 🙂
Alan Breck Stewart, who played a significant role in Kidnapped, makes his appearance here as well. Although his presence is less, the significance of his role is not diminished, for he plays a vital role in securing David’s future happiness. The most colourful character, however, was Catriona; the young, spirited heroine, who is trapped between her love for David and her loyalty to a villainous father. In all my reading of Stevenson, I can’t recall him giving much prominence to a female heroine (except in Black Arrow perhaps) and it was a pleasing highlight of the story.
When compared with Kidnapped, however, the story of Catriona moves slow. It is less of action and adventure. Yet, there was enough adventure, and enough interest in the story and character for me to enjoy it as much as Kidnapped. It’s always a challenge to write a sequel to a novel beloved by many as the expectation would be quite high. Stevenson has taken up this daunting challenge and has come out triumphant.