Knowing William Mayne you keep waiting for the extra dimensions to be revealed in this story of an English girl who inherits...

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ROYAL HARRY

Knowing William Mayne you keep waiting for the extra dimensions to be revealed in this story of an English girl who inherits a house and mountain, then finds herself Queen of a tiny community that split from England in the 18th century. If you didn't know Mayne, you'd still be led by the unmistakable ""quality"" writing style to expect more substance than he delivers. Even the plot boils down to an unfulfilled promise: Harriet finds an old couple living in a cave on her property and four Frenchmen camping in another, all of them presumably seeking an ancient treasure; but it turns out that there's no treasure after all -- only a copper ship built by some French prisoners in the 1790's. Meanwhile Harriet learns ""that being a ruler meant making decisions, not ordering people about,"" then settles down to bicycling to school and living off her very modest investments and her father's blue-collar job with the electric company. There are hints of humor in the incongruity of the 12-year-old working class Queen, but nothing is made of them; there are suspicions of ghosts in the modest royal residence but nothing comes of them, and there is no attempt to link Harriet psychically or psychologically with her predecessors. In short, Mayne supplies none of the pace, excitement or vitality needed to sustain a light novel, thus rendering fruitless the accessibility for which he has sacrificed his admired mystical intensity.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1972