ROWAN HEAD by Elisabeth Ogilvie
Kirkus Star


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Maine again, and with stronger dramatic values and emotional pressures than in her Bennett Island trilogy (Crowell), and these did very well, this seems assured of an even better popular reception. It is the story of Miriam Chase who comes to the home of the Camerons, once prominent shipbuilders, to serve as nurse to widowed Felice Cameron who since the death of her husband had retreated into an unreal world. In a household overcast by tragedy and hatred, there is the fierce discord between two of the three sons; Barth, who is attempting to start a new shipyard-and to bring his mother back to sanity; Giles, a rotter, who is ready to sell his family out and Rowan Head from under them; David, who escaped the taunts and terror of his childhood into a world of his own. Barth sees what little money he has levied to cover Giles' criminal actions; his workshop and his models destroyed by an act of violence; and when Mrs. Cameron is impelled toward death- indirectly through Giles, Rowan Head is burnt to the ground- and David with it, Barth has nothing left of a twenty year struggle save Miriam who gives him the faith to go on... The pitch here, psychological, romantic is high but never suspect, and there's a strong narrative drive which makes this continually holding.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1949
Publisher: Whittlesey House