PROUD MARY by Iris Gower


Email this review


More motes of misery in Selwyn's Eye, that mining town in South Wales, where--in Copper Kingdom (1984)--heroine Mali Richardson rose from rags to high estate; here Mary Jenkins, who manages Mali's laundry business, has a similar levitation after considerable woe. First of all, Mary's fiancÉ, Billy Grey, has been taken away to prison on a trumped-up charge--by-product of an on-going feud between the two Sutton brothers, Dean and Brandon. Dean's the bad 'un. (In Copper Kingdom he was one of the plotters against Mali's sterling husband Sterling.) Brandon, a good boss, is owner of the Beaufort Steel and Tinplate Works--and he's written a book which will revolutionize, to the workers' benefit, the wage scale. (Other mining/industrial bosses, including Dean, are appalled: the presses printing Brandon's opus will be blown up twice.) And Mary's #2 woe arises when Mall sells the laundry: the new boss, father of the Sutton brothers, is a nasty old geezer who hates Mary and sends her down to the boilers to stoke. Then, even worse, Delmai Richardson, miserably married to Sterling's horrid half-brother Picky, needs a place to run to. . . and boots Mary out of her beloved cottage! So: where to go--now that she's been fired from the laundry? Well, there's a loaded offer from Dean--including work in a draper's shop and fun in bed. But it's Brandon whom Mary yearns after, and some ugly misunderstandings put her out in the street again. And when Mary now has a go at selling clothes in a market stall, she's driven out of that by a bogus Market Cooperative. But finally Mary makes it with the purchase of a 19th-century version of a mini-mall--while the laundry explodes, presses are smashed, a calamitous strikers' meeting erupts. . . and the lovers stop huffing and puffing. Foolish but bouncy.

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 1984
ISBN: 0727857878
Publisher: St. Martin's