ADAM'S COMMON by David Wiseman


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A slight, unsurprising story featuring the presentday inhabitants of an English industrial town and their predecessors more than one hundred years before. Peggy Donovan is a visiting American who finds Traverton an ugly place except for Adam's Common, the town's extensive, still wild green. When plans to bulldoze and develop it emerge, she and her mother rally the locals to block the plan. Peggy has already stumbled upon Trafford Court, an abandoned, burned out house formerly occupied by the family that brought the railway through in the previous century. While sketching there, she notices some movement--a boy? a cat?--and successive visits further the mystery. Alternate chapters introduce William Trafford, son of that long ago family, and the painful episode that led him to turn inward and give the land to the town: friend Adam was shot as a poacher and William never recovered from the loss. This part of the plot is syrupy and labored; the only question is how Peggy will cross the time barrier to hear the full story and obtain the deed establishing the Common as forever wild. She does, just in the nick of time, and wins a town award besides, but the resolution is amateurish. A lesser fantasy and, despite a breathless rescue at the end, very little oomph.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin