THE CUP AND THE SWORD by Alice Tidale Hobart


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I found this good reading, though I confess that the characters were not wholly convincing. It is refreshingly new in background and material -- the period between the wars seen through the wine industries of California. A long, full-panoplied novel of the struggle for existence, when prohibition brought an abrupt end to the biggest phase of the business, when bootleggers and doubledealers pushed ideals aside and made of it a shady, questionable field of activity -- when those who held to the goal of a rival to the imported wines managed with difficulty to keep things going on a legitimate basic until repeal brought them into their own again. A vigorous story of the battle of an industry, good situations, good settings -- and one character, the old Frenchman to whom his vineyards were a trust, a symbol, who comes to life in the story. Elizabeth, the granddaughter who had never seen her father's home, is the pivotal character of the book and -- for me at least -- she never rang true. She was now too pliant, now too self-willed; her denial of one man, her acceptance of another, neither seemed convincing -- nor, when her grandfather's will left her the favorite vineyards, did her denial of the trust seem in character. A story modern in feel and tempo, and yet with roots in traditions that have an old-world aroma. The family picture is well-drawn, the story holds interest. Utterly new for the author of Oil for the Lamps of China.

Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill