THE LONELY STRANGERS by Charity Blackstock


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Charity Blackstock writes novels which usually rise well above the categories on which they are predicated, at least for their audience. This one (cf. The English Wife, 1964) returns to the late 18th century after the not so Bonnie Prince Charlie fiasco and deals with a handful of his followers who became political exiles living on a subsistence pension close to the gutter in Paris. Two years have passed since the skirl of pipes was silenced at Culloden and only five who had become members of the Skulkers' Club are left: Coil Macdonell, home-and-heartsick for the wife and children he had left; a toothless, sodden doctor spooked by the memory of the daughter he had killed; a light-fingered, whore-chasing opportunist; the man who calls himself Aeneas who is both above and beyond them; and finally a consumptive Englishman who dies leaving behind a wife, Grizel, and a bairn to come. Mostly this deals with Coll's attempt to salvage Grizel and her child and ultimately himself as further months pass and hope thins in betrayal for these outcast-victims. The story seems relatively true to the times on both continents and it's all upswept by a bonafide sentiment as part of mankind's, most especially womankind's, determination to survive. So, assuredly, does that readership.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1972
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan