THE LADY by Anne McCaffrey


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McCaffrey departs from her megs-selling science-fantasy fare to serve up this treacly sweet but ultimately satisfying soap opera about some scandalous doings on an Irish horse farm. It's 1970 and the times they are a-changing' around Cornanagh, the land that has belonged to the Carradyne family for two hundred years. Thirteen-year-old Catriona, the youngest of six belonging to handsome Michael and fanatically Catholic Isabel, wants to spend her life riding horses. This is so unladylike of her that Isabel is driven into an awful shit (""Pray to the Virgin Mary to melt your obstinacy and unfeminine desires!""), which ends up with the poor neurotic woman literally fasting herself to death. Then, with Isabel conveniently out of the way, Michael begins an affair with the lovely Selina Healey, wife of a brutally ambitious politician. Selina is everything Isabel wasn't: charming, intelligent, witty--and she can even natter on about horses with a star-struck Catriona (""He's got a super pop, Catriona. . .A very scopey pony""). All progresses swimmingly until Selina's husband David finds out and races over to Cornanagh to tear the house down. He does manage to beat up Selina before being bested by a heroic Michael, who then convinces David that politicians with scandals do not make P.M. After a few heroics on Catriona's part--saving a Carradyne mare and colt from an ungodly bunch of slavering shanty Irish with a grudge against the family--the novel ends happily all around. Despite a heavy, horsy YA flavor and a large dollop of Irish stereotyping (kindly Mick, the aged stablehand, ornery Bride the cook, etc.), this one should be just a hoofbeat away from the hearts of McCaffrey fans.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Ballantine