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The familiar, unrefined ore: a turn-of-the-century South Wales copper-mining-village romance--complete with cottage lass, handsome mine-owner, one-shot pregnancies, upper-class scandal, and the capping mine explosion. Pretty Mali Llewelyn and her mine-worker father Davie are on the outs because Da (recently widowered) has been keeping company with flossy Rosa. But meanwhile Mali herself has been uncomfortably attracted to sterling mine-owner Sterling Richardson, who plans a new mining future by switching to zinc. . . but faces some hefty problems. First of all, unbeknownst to Sterling, his real father was mine-partner James Cardigan--so brother Rickie (a rotter) is the true Richardson heir. Furthermore, Sterling (again unbeknownst) has impregnated his half-sister Bea Cardigan--who learns the truth and has a secret, near-fatal abortion. And even more disaster looms when Mali (now office-manager for a laundry) slides into Sterling's arms ""like a startled faun."" Her Da is critically injured with molten copper--thanks to the slimy boyfriend (errand-boy for Rickie Richardson) of Mali's chum Katie; Davie's compensation money--with which Mali had planned to buy a partnership in the laundry--is stolen by Rosa; Rickie plots against Sterling's mining ventures; lovers' misunderstandings abound. (Mali thinks Sterling was responsible for Davie's death; Sterling glowers about, believing Mali to be promiscuous.) But after a mine explosion--engineered by Rickie & Co.--the wicked (and a few of the pure) will be out of action, all secrets will be revealed. . . and Sterling and Mali meld mettles. An unseasoned serving of old chestnuts, unconvincing but serviceable.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's