THE AMBASSADOR'S WOMEN by Catherine Gaskin


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Gaskin's 20th novel, a potboiler-cum-dynastic saga set in London, Cornwall, and Washington, D.C., and featuring movie stars, diplomats, robber barons, and titled Brits, should please waiting fans. When American Ginny Clayton meets Lady Geraldine Camborne in London of 1930, both are pregnant. An instant friendship is born, along with, soon after, two daughters. Dena's husband becomes an ambassador; Ginny's, a major munitions manufacturer. Their daughters, born days apart, are followed by other children, all of whom are raised en masse as ""The Families"" draw yet closer. At Camborne's Cornish estate, Livy, the lovely daughter of a famed poet, joins the crowd of children, falling in love with Alex, Ginny's eldest. Ultimately, Alex marries another; Livy suffers. One Clayton/Camborne daughter becomes an actress, another ""marries money,"" another becomes a radical socialist and mistress of a notorious M.P. Dena sleeps with an American officer when Camborne is posted to Moscow; the son of that liaison is willingly raised by Camborne--he in turn having had a Moscow mistress who also produced a child. Ambassador Camborne's affair facilitates his blackmail by the Soviets, and Dena's subsequent death may be suicide--or political murder. Maimed in a plane crash, Alex divorces to marry Livy; upon Camborne's death from leukemia, Ginny tries to retrieve his daughter from Russia, As the novel winds down in the 1960's, the Russian ""daughter"" escapes, but, after all, isn't Camborne's. She'll still join the family, however. Altogether, a first-rate dynastic saga--pulp but consummately pleasurable.

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1986
Publisher: Scribners