Before cracking this second volume (after No Place to Cry, 1989) about the intricately incestuous, wealthy English/American...


THE FIRES OF SUMMER: Vol. II of The Bradshaw Trilogy

Before cracking this second volume (after No Place to Cry, 1989) about the intricately incestuous, wealthy English/American Bradshaws (here talking their way from the Forties on), it would be helpful to construct a genealogical table to keep tabs on relationships, as well as to help one through the next and concluding volume. At the start of this chunk of Bradshaw doings, Floyd, in 1942 a sailor with a jail record, writes to his adoptive father to report that Floyd's real mother, Helen Bradshaw (who doffed him as an infant), has tracked him down: ""She says the Bradshaws are English and have piles of money."" In the previous book, Floyd's conception had taken place in England. The sire is Helen's cousin Hugh (who has since committed suicide for other reasons), Floyd is brought into the family and visits the family seat in England. (He slips into three-piece suits with no trouble). In the meantime, Nora, Helen's cousin, has been told by daughter Valerie that she is about to marry Jesse, Nora's longtime lover and partner in a Paris literary publication. Jesse Bradshaw, nÉ Clegg, had been adopted by Nora's grandfather. Clear so far? Nora nobly lets go. Entering the picture now and then is slightly sinister Paul Buscatore. (Helen's dead father had married an Italian girl who died, see, and he and Floyd are uncle and nephew. Whew.) Throughout, blood Bradshaws and ""outsiders"" fly back and forth from Europe to America; partners are exchanged; old affairs are heated; there's an unpleasant death; and, in all, lots to chat about. Ninety percent of this account of fires-within is dialogue, or interior musings about motivations and heart murmurs. The talking heads talk on and on. But it's mainly good--sometimes very bright indeed--easy-listening talk that flows like domestic Chablis.

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 1990


Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1990

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