WIDE IS THE WATER by Jane Aiken Hodge


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Mercy Leggett of England and Hart Purchis of Georgia, first encountered in Judas Flowering (1976), are now (1780) joined in wedlock--but tenuously so. . . because they were married by a French captain in international waters, with no time for honeymooning. And their love will soon be tested by wartime separation. Hart puts out to sea in his ship, the Georgia, which falls prey to a British ship captained by Hart's distant cousin Dick Purchas; Hart saves Dick from a mutineer's knife, and he's squired to the Purchas' mansion in England--where he's lionized for his derring-do and stalked by Dick's wily, luscious sister Julia. Meanwhile, back in wintry Massachusetts, Mercy has a dreadful time of it--living with a young madwoman (whose family was killed off by Indians) and fending off accusations from a local mob of witch hunters. But things pick up for her on a frigid trek to Philadelphia: she shoots at some looters, meets charming Frenchman Charles Brisson, and is touted as a prime patriot (she's the famed ""Rebel Pamphleteer"" who outwitted the British in Savannah). It's then on to England, however--because husband Hart's in big trouble there now: he's been clapped in the Tower in the wake of the anti-Catholic Gordon riots (deemed pro-American), and Julia's Papa tightens the screws by claiming that Hart has compromised her. It all sorts out after an interminable explication of the spying, plotting, and blunderings of Purchis-Purchas kin on both sides of the wide water. . . as well as a certain Frenchman. Talky and mawkish (except for Mercy's sharp-shooting)--but count on Hodge's following.

Pub Date: July 2nd, 1981
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan