COME TO THE BOWER by J. Y. Bryan

COME TO THE BOWER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Come to the Bower, a moral romance, brings the abstractions Liberty and Honor down to earth with such loving conviction of their worth as to move even a hardened moviegoer. Somehow, with mortgages hanging fire over the old plantation, and plenty of drawling belles, and villains brawny and scrawny, Mr. Bryan carries off his novel without one line of phony dialogue or a single heaving bosom. ush Louisiana mansion life, as perfumed as Stark Young's So Red the Rose, alternates with glitter-eyed battle scenes in the Texas war for independence. The story tells of 22-year-old, footloose Southern lawyer, Perry Allan, who leaves the girl he wants to marry because he loves honor more. Honor is to help free Texas from the grip of Santa Anna. Will Perry's girl, Camilla (a young widow) marry the banker holding her mortgage and to whom she is now engaged? After Perry's first battle (during which the ""Texans"" capture San Antonio house by house, in night passages of weird and remarkable immediacy), he returns on leave to see Camilla. This time the slavery issue separates them, and back he goes to Texas. Camilla sells a young slave girl for $2,000, pays off the mortgage and sets out for Texas also. Meanwhile, the Alamo falls (sans Perry), the battle of San Jacinto takes place, and at novel's end the lovers are reunited. All this plotting is next door to a John Ford movie, including the author's densely oving care for mood and detail. What gives the book a compelling quality is its unassailable veracity of dialogue, cliche-free description and an overriding poetry of the vernacular (particularly in very moving letters and diary entries). A valid and beautiful novel, very superior, though not as memorable as Raintree County (the book!).

Pub Date: May 6th, 1963
Publisher: Viking