HOME GROUND by Hugh Miller


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Miller's third installment of the Megan Roberts story (following The District Nurse and Snow on the Wind) seems intent on proving that the ailments of people in rural Wales can be just as interesting as those of animals in Herriot's Yorkshire. So here we're treated to a motley assortment of human sufferers, all tended to by Nurse Megan, who in her 40s is just as handsome and capable as ever. Among her patients are an aging schoolmaster wasting away from a mysterious form of metal poisoning, and a depressed minister's wife named Ruth, who gets a little Freudian-style therapy from astute Megan. Miller's favorite medical lady has returned to her hometown of Drynfor to care for her mentor, Gwendolyn Pughe-Morgan, who's been laid low by a weak heart. She's convinced to stay on as district nurse by the local doctor, Dougall McKendrick, who writes poetry and medical texts while quaffing too many spirits. He's a fascinating but boorish sort, which is why Megan takes up with a local shopkeeper instead. Still, it's McKendrick's face that haunts her dreams--an apparition Megan tries to banish with heavy doses of hard work. She sorts out Ruth by persuading her to leave her brutal husband and then discovers that the schoolmaster's wife has been quietly poisoning him. And when McKendrick finally admits that he's fallen in love with Megan, she gets her own house in order, too, by becoming the doctor's better half. More of the same cozy, mildly melodramatic stew, then, seasoned with anal fistulas, obscure diseases, and farming accidents.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's