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THE VIEW FROM THE SUMMERHOUSE by Barbara Whitnell

THE VIEW FROM THE SUMMERHOUSE

By Barbara Whitnell

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-11913-5
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

 Like Charmed Circle (1994), a family mystery is the prime mover in tales of love both unrequited and triumphant. Set in Cornwall and London in the 1980s, with dreamy flashbacks to the fevered days of WW II. American David Holt, 65, as a G.I. spent a surreal night of horror 24 hours before D-day with Caleb Carne, a famous British radio personality whose broadcasts had rallied bombed-out civilians in their darkest hour. Carne is now 95, and David's son, journalist Simon, is to write the old man's biography. Carne's collected essays and tapes of his broadcasts have brought him new popularity, and honors are on the way. David remembers his days as a G.I. patrolling the Cornish beach and his friendship with the Carnes: jovial show-off Caleb; his eerily quiet wife; and the three daughters--down-to-earth Caro, schoolgirl Pen, and gorgeous, self- absorbed Trish. Now in London pursuing another Carne-related mystery is Laura Rossi, whose adored grandmother, Stella, a brilliant journalist and feminist, had apparently been--to Laura's disbelief--lover of that likable sentiment-huckster, Caleb Carne. Initially hostile to Simon, whom she meets through her ditsy mother, Polly (who owns a box of Stella's letters), Laura will find her way across huge emotional distances. A diary excerpt, elders' reminiscences, and photos all give clues, but it is David who is finally shocked into a confrontation with Caleb. At the close, during Caleb's fàte, David will find a new/old love, and Caleb will tell all--maybe. A long, pleasantly poky, double-harness love story. Ideal, undemanding summerhouse reading, particularly for those attuned to English WW II settings and love tales all ``darling''s and doubt.