DEVIL CHILD by Jo Germany


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When Caroline's grasping Mama arranges a sudden wedding to Russian Count Sergei Bibikov, it looks like it's forced-marriage-misery time: the nuptial night is dreadful, and a weeping Carrie has to leave 18th-century Tunbridge Wells for the steppes moments later. But it doesn't take long for her to fall in love with her handsome husband (""let me teach you the pleasure to be had from lovemaking""), after which she has nothing worse to fear than attempted murder and a Cossack rebellion. When Sergei is injured falling off a horse and can't utter a word for days, doughty Carrie takes over the estate and does whatever an English civil libertarian can do singlehandedly to keep the knout off various serfs' backs. She also discovers that Sergei has had a previous wife--murdered in her bed--and a ten-year-old son (Devil Child) whom some say did the dirty deed. Others, mainly Sergei's English ex-mother-in-law, who is still in residence, say that Sergei did it himself. Is the small figure that Carrie sees bopping around in the dark of night really the wretched boy, or some other of murderous intent? Naturally, a capable Englishwoman has no trouble sorting out this mess with one hand while fighting off a Cossack-serf uprising with the other. A serf-it of silliness.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's