Jessica, a beautiful and proper widow, discovers that her feelings for her old friend David--who stood by her during her husband's long illness--are changing and must confront her attachment to the honorably married David.
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Macdonald continues his lightly linked Cornwall series (A Woman Possessed, 1993, etc.) with a tale of voluble and feisty young women who give off sparks and set off conflagrations in a tight little village community of antagonistic genders and generations. The prime mover here is Lorna Sancreed, who arrives unannounced in 1920 at the handsome home of recently widowed Jessica Lanyon, mother of three. Inexplicably the two become essential to one another. Is it because each lost a man after the Great War? Or because Lorna loves to cook and Jessica hates it? Jessica is conservative, discreet; she mourns her loveless marriage more than her husband's death. Unmarried, pregnant Lorna, estranged from her family, flamboyant and irreverent, follows a compulsion to change the lives around her. The housemates flare up, make up, and find themselves in a thicket of romantic possibilities/impossibilities. Jessica struggles to hide her passion for neighbor Dr. David Carne, miserably married to maddening Estelle, who loathes him and feigns illness until Lorna routs her out. Lorna, crusader for honesty and the Airing of Feelings, has a rousing seaside idyll with David; a chaste kiss, with a proposition for noble, prim tavern owner Ben; and a dalliance with young Bill, an aeronautics enthusiast. ``How do men and women manage to live together at all?'' asks one character. Cluttering the flurry of chums and chumps once Lorna's baby is born is a brace of growling Grandpas (one was featured in A Woman Alone, 1991). Macdonald also provides glimpses of early 20th century machines, from flying to flivver, and some great scenery. At the close, there's a not particularly lamented flight and happy, even providential pairings. As in the author's other Cornwall-set tangles of passion and predation between the sexes, the talk floods like a Cornish tide. Some may find the sheer volume of chatter enervating, but on the whole, the gossiping village neighbors will prove to be genial company for the author's following. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
The setting for Macdonald's new historical romance (after A Woman Possessed) is the Cornish town of Penzance during WW I, but it might as well be Peyton Place for all the secrets and sexual high jinks it hosts. Jessica Lanyon nurses her ailing war-hero husband with the help of neighbor David Carne, a physician. Though Jessica and David love one another, their relationship remains platonic even after Jessica is widowed, because David is married to an invalid wife who controls the purse strings. Then mysterious Lorna Sancreed arrives, declaring that her recently deceased fiance was wounded in the same accident in which Jessica's husband was injured. The two women immediately become fast friends and Lorna becomes Jessica's permanent house guest. Before long, her new housemate is convincing Jessica to make a move on David and then to open a sanitarium with Lorna as her partner and David as their doctor. Meanwhile, behind naive Jessica's back, David is busy seducing Lorna, while Lorna seduces someone else and David's wife is also up to no good. And another shocking event is yet to occur. The pages don't exactly fly by, but they do offer the well-wrought historical details, plot twists and vivid characters that his fans expect.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción St Martins Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0312110804