A CERTAIN SPLENDOUR by Carola Salisbury

A CERTAIN SPLENDOUR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Salisbury's latest is a bouncy, endearing Edwardian romp about the wildly varied fortunes of Faith Dangerfield, daughter of the widowed millionaire, Commodore Myles Dangerfield, RN. When the story begins, Faith, 24, is following the fleet in her father's steam yacht, hostessing sumptuous balls, protecting her beloved papa from adventuresses, and herself falling in love with a certain young humbly-born but right-thinking captain, Jack Cummings. . .until the golden bubble bursts and the Commodore is court martialed for taking a tragic risk with one of the King's speedboats during maneuvers. And from there on, oh, how the mighty do fail, as Faith learns that her father and his brother have gambled away 17 million pounds (playing ""pitch-and-toss with the goddess Chance""), leaving her to take a job as assistant housekeeper at a West End hotel. So, she becomes her maid's Pygmalion and is remade into a sturdy Cockney wench, ultimately managing the sticky politics in the hotel's servants' quarters and rising through the ranks--all the while keeping her lowly occupation secret from her sire, who she thinks is ensconced at his club; then she discovers that he's taken a job selling tripe and ""cowheels,"" and they're reunited once more, happy if down-and-out. But before the final bell tolls, Jack Cummings comes back into Faith's life, she learns a frightening secret about her birthright, and then loses her valiant father during the Great War (and Salisbury gives this marvelous, redoubtable character a perfect epitaph from the last lines of Tennyson's Ulysses: "". . .one equal temper of heroic hearts,/Made weak by time, but strong in will/To strive, to seek, to find. . ./And not to yield. ""The plot is outrageous, laced with implausibilities--but, still, Salisbury's writerly vivacity makes it all ripping good fun.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
Publisher: Century Hutchinson--dist. by David & Charles