MAGGIE ROYAL by Jane McIlvaine McClary


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A fat, silky-sheen romance--which takes its tony heroine from a lovely island off the coast of Georgia to a high-living fox-hunting enclave in Sussex. Maggie Royal, daughter of sybaritic Irish actress Mairin and the late rakehell Jere McDermott, arrives at the luxurious family compound in 1930, a scared but thrilled ten-year-old. Ruling the island in feudal splendor is Gramma, who orchestrates everything with sense and style. And among the extended biracial family of natives, the standout is Jared Stark, a distant ""connection"" who has all of the following: extraordinary hawk features and green eyes; a sense of mystery; a love of wild places and animals; a belief in justice; and a ""curious sexual authority."" So Maggie falls in love with the island (though there are a number of brutal incidents with a Klan-involved farmer and island blacks), with its wonderful parties and horses (there are fine sweaty races), and with Jared. But Jared will be snared into marriage by that nasty belle, Cindy Lou--daughter of Big Boy Tarrington, a ""Southern carpetbagger"" who's eager to snatch the island for development. And as WW II begins to heat up, heartbroken Maggie moves to England--where she'll be caught up in the delightfully eccentric, faintly wicked, whoop-haloo circle of Lady Brenda, who does factory war-work by day and plays with a jolly beau at night in her husband's absence. Then, however, with death (including Lady Brenda's) and destruction all about, Maggie and Jared (now a fighter pilot) will reunite: there's a flight-to-the-moon affair. . . until Jared is reported killed, after which Maggie marries stolid diplomat Warren. Skip to 1950: Maggie, never able to forget Jared (whose demise report was exaggerated), returns to the island, now run to decay and owned by recluse Jared; but she realizes that their love (like Jared) is a thing of the past. . . so it's back to Warren and the bluebird in her own back yard. With appealing tintypes of the postures and pasturages of privilege--a pleasantly glossy heart-plucker from the author of A Portion for Foxes (1972).

Pub Date: July 12th, 1981
Publisher: Simon & Schuster