VICTORIA GRANDOLET by Henry Bellamann

VICTORIA GRANDOLET

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KIRKUS REVIEW

King's Row was another best seller, the author -- with this book -- also proves that he is not going to ""write in the groove"". I found Victoria Grandolet absorbing reading, in much the way Rebecca was. Only in this case, Victoria was the Rebecca of the Du Maurier book, not the scared little white rabbit of a second wife. And you see Victoria molding her material to her own ends, playing with people's lives. Victoria had an inferiority complex built on the mystery of her own parentage; this secret she kept, when she married Niles Grandolet, Louisiana aristocrat, owner of White Cloud and Far Felice, storied properties in the bayou country. There's extraordinary build-up of atmosphere, the power of place and legend over people's lives. Victoria, brought up in a New Hampshire rectory, patterns herself after the grandmother who became more Grandolet than the Grandolets. She bore Niles a son, and then pushed him from her. She buried herself in family legend and history, always playing a part, and bringing unhappiness and uneasiness. She spurred Niles on to a measure of success, White Cloud and Far Felice were brought back again -- but Far Felice was haunted by ghosts and White Cloud by the people who half-lived there. And finally, when passion betrayed her, Victoria took the only way out, the way that put a seal on exposure. A fascinating story, saturated in the atmosphere of the eerie bayou setting-the strange family. But in retrospect, there seem to be various channels opened and not followed, loose threads, left untied, and a sense of frustration. But it is good reading.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster