TRESPASSES by Caroline Bridgwood


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Bridgwood (Magnolia Gardens, 1988) now offers a richly entertaining family saga set in WW II England and Europe. When Kitty Conway is orphaned at the age of eight and sent to live with her mother's older brother and his highly eccentric family in Oxfordshire, she is quickly absorbed into the magic world of her rambunctious cousins, their fluttery mother and officious, often misguided father. It becomes practical-minded Kitty's role, as the children grow into adulthood, to keep the family together--despite some violent disputes over such issues as social propriety and Fascism--while she simultaneously tries to ignore her love for cousin Jack, a handsome rapscallion whom she can't hope to reform. Meanwhile, Kitty's sole passion (other than Jack) is photography, and she acts as record-keeper as the children discover that their father is having an affair with a glamorous houseguest; as beautiful cousin Lexi elopes to Berlin with a German count; as Kitty's ""twin"" cousin, Frannie, runs off to Paris to fight Fascism with her lover, a Communist Jew; and as Jack wheels and deals both in London and in France's profitable black market. Using her status as press photographer to slip in and out of the war-torn Continent, Kitty comforts cousin Lexi when her husband is executed for aiding the Jews, tries to help pregnant Frannie, who has gone into hiding in the attic of a Paris brothel, and rests with Jack as he distributes black-market goods to whoever can pay. All does not end well: Frannie dies in a concentration camp, Jack nearly crumbles as a result, and Lexi barely scrapes through the war with her two half-German sons. It is Kitty who reunites the family and, once the survivors have begun to recover, returns to her life in London happy in the knowledge that naughty Jack is likely to be there, too. Often melodramatic, but satisfying and occasionally moving nonetheless.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Crown