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Laurie Woodbyne is the pale, gutless Leslie Howard type, and after he has helped to squander his family's early-l9th-century fortune, he is forced to marry the rich daughter of dirty-fingered parvenu Charlie Hatch. Only after his wife's second month with child does Laurie discover why lusty, busty Esmeralda has turned him off at the marital bed: she is an intractable lesbian and has had her governess for a lover for nine years. Laurie blows up, swats her, and at last is sent by the knowing elder Hatch into semi-exile as a fur trader in Hatch's company post in the savage country ""beyond the shining mountains"" in Canada. Once established in Canada, Laurie falls for half-breed Rowan Malone, an Aluski princess (with Irish father) who was raised in a convent and later raped by some young Frenchmen who thought half-breeds fair game. Rowan is turned off men. But Laurie saves her life (and what's left of her virtue) when he interrupts still another rape of the girl while she is making a portage west. It's winter, and Rowan is put up in Laurie's cabin, while he sleeps at a friend's; later she agrees to marry him in a private ceremony just between the two of them. Eleven years pass and Rowan bears Laurie two sons while he builds up the family business. When Esmeralda is murdered by her lover and Laurie's son Chris inherits zillions, will Laurie give up Rowan for the delights of civilization? Will the plague now hitting the fort help him decide? Saga-soap in the furry Northwest, no better than Cain's Daughters (1978)--and further proof that Shannon is better suited to slim adventures, like Hawthorn Hill (1976).

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 1979
Publisher: St. Martin's