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Chad Boothroyd tells the story of a love that started in boyhood and survived Rose's meteoric passage through successive elopements with Eustace Hawkes, to whom marriage was unacceptable, and one marriage of convenience to Billy Paseoe. That Chad and Eustace and Billy had grown up together -- and that their lives were intertwined with those of Rose and her mother, Lucy Orlop, grande dame of the Cornish village where they lived, made it all still more complex. Through their story, with all its unconventionality and defiance of Victorian principles, Howard Spring has spanned two generations -- from the Boer War to World War II. But it was World War I that changed the lives of his characters, for Eustace lost both his legs and thrust Rose out of his life; Chad -- after years of failing to come to grips with his potential ability- made a success with a war play -- and gave Rose the serene happiness and security she craved by then, and various other lives, touching theirs, reflected the impact of those challenging years. The last third of the book is a story of redemption, as Eustace, hallowed by experience, comes back into their lives- and performs his sort of miracle. Frankly, I found it anticlimactic and unconvincing, and preferred the brash amorality of his earlier performance. The book lacks the warm nostalgia of The Houses in Between -- but gives a similar sweep of time in its reflection of a semi-rural and village pattern- from Cornwall to Yorkshire. Some of the incidental characters were to me more vividly drawn than the chief ones.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1955
Publisher: Harper