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THE WILD ROSE: Meg's Tale by Daisy Vivian



Pub Date: May 19th, 1986
Publisher: Walker

A flabby sequel to the much livelier Rose White, Rose Red (1983), about Jacobite spying and plotting, and featuring two young sisters and their eccentric relative Lady Sabella, who boosts the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie from her London house. Here, Sahella has given up, and will exit abroad while her protÉgÉ, the street-waif Meg, takes center stage in a pale tale of fuzzy mystery and bland people. Meg (who has none of the pep of Roseanna in the earlier novel) makes two new friends on a London street, after a rescue and her attempt to pick the pocket of earl's son and would-be actor Jared. Also confronting Jared is a former acquaintance, the pamphleteer Dellanoy, who lives with feisty Mrs. Phoenix in a seedy part of town. Jared is intrigued by Meg's ability to counterpoint street-Arab diction with upper-caste speech, and before long she's lured into acting herself. The theater is the Parthenium, managed by the formidable actress Stella Bainbrige, a sister of Mrs. Phoenix (who turns out to be the famous theater critic!). Meantime, while Meg is attracted to the elusive Dellanoy, she becomes acquainted with a sinister party named Peregrine, whom Lady Sabella believes is a true-blue Jacobite. Peregrine knows there's a price on Dellanoy's head--he's supposedly off to Virginia to arrange for the import of the Bonnie Prince for anti-Hanoverian planters. In no time at all Meg is a successful actress; there are nights of love with Dellanoy, then a pregnancy; and Peregrine seems to be out to destroy Dellanoy--and others. Meg talks things over with Dr. Samuel Johnson--a mere shadow of his historical sell And after a fire, a birth and Meg's blindess (will she or won't she see again?), there's a gathering of most of the principals; Meg chooses a husband; and some mighty improbable relationships are disclosed. Tame, messy, and decidedly out-of-period.