This dynasty whopper (1803-1895), centered on one Scottish woman's obsession with her castle birthright, is misty with...



This dynasty whopper (1803-1895), centered on one Scottish woman's obsession with her castle birthright, is misty with Scottish scenery and rural festivals--but it's also downright foggy with a plethora of forgettable, spawning generations. Villa Cameron is seven when her debt-ridden father sells his dead wife's ancestral castle, Kinveil, with its spread of mountain loch and fiver, to a tradesman of humble origins, elderly Mungo Teller. And though wee Villa tries to push mighty Mungo off a parapet, he'll prove to be her dear friend: he even sees that she has a home as a young woman with his stuffy son Magnus, Magnus' gentle wife Lucy, and their bratty son Luke. Later, then, Villa makes a deadly marriage with foundry heir Andrew Lauriston, a repressive stick, bearing him two sons, Gideon and Theo. Thus, while Andrew dies in battle, Villa becomes pregnant (with baby Drew) by dashing Perry Randall, husband of Mungo's daughter Charlotte. And, after the suspicious death of her foundry-king father-in-law, Villa takes over the foundry with enormous success. The Perry/Villa affair goes through complex ups and downs; after Mungo's death Magnus is installed at Kinveil, with Luke, who's been interning and improving in social consciousness during a period of clearances and oppression of peasantry. (Luke even proposes to Villa--but, suspecting Vilia's love for Perry, reverts to type, and is levied in a burning peasant's hut.) More trouble ensues when Drew and Charlotte's daughter Shona elope and Theo's ""unnatural"" leanings cause grief for Magnus' other child, Juliana. And finally, after Villa weds pill-some Magnus, there's a slew of marriages, some miserable, with many offspring and deaths (""accidents"" and suicides)--plus a family-tree-pruning finale as the skeletons in Vilia's closet rattle forth. Over-thick with the usual domestic criss-crossings through the generations--even if Villa is moderately winning.

Pub Date: June 6, 1983


Page Count: -

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1983