THE WILD GEESE by Ellis Dillon


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The Wild Geese are 18th-century Irish aristocracy who, because of their post-Stuart Catholicism, settle in France, often acquiring titles and intermarrying. So it's only natural that Frenchwoman Sophie, the Catholic elderly widow of the late Sir James Brien in rural Ireland, should wish that her grandchildren, Robert and Louise, travel to ""civilized"" France. Robert is to acquire an education, and Louise is to take possession of monies she should have inherited from her late mother Cecile. But once in France, both Robert and Louise become pawns in vicious domestic and marital politics. It seems that Countess Charlotte, Louise's hostess and cousin, has spent all of Louise's inheritance and is busy with stratagems to shunt the girl out of sight. And Robert has been tricked (by a very naughty cousin) into what might have been a fatal duel. Worse yet, before Louise can truly admit her love for AndrdÉ Lacy, Robert's decent friend (who extricated him from the duel), she is thrust into a marriage with an aging bore and pines in the provinces. Robert and AndrÉ, meanwhile, are bucketing forth to America to help the ""dour"" natives in their fight for independence, as part of a force of 5,000 Frenchmen who wind up at Yorktown. And back in Ireland, Robert's long-ago love, Celia Nugent, daughter of a neighboring squire, allows herself to be seduced by Robert's papa Maurice: she'll bear a stillborn child and disappear. So a double rescue (AndrÉ of Louise, Robert of Celia) gallantly rounds off this competent if unaccented tale--solid, rather limp-spirited work from a veteran historical saga-spinner.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Simon & Schuster