In a sequel to Legacy of Love, Trollope—“writing as Caroline Harvey”— takes up the story of the resourceful female descendants of Charlotte Bewick, who found love and adventure in Afghanistan in 1849. Here, she details how Alexia and daughter Carly keep up the family traditions in the 1960s and ’80s.
In 1965, when Alexia leaves school and begins working in London, she’s miserably aware of her shortcomings. Unlike her activist mother Carla and physician father Stephen, she’s not a brilliant scholar or interested in politics, but she can cook, type, and organize. Her job making curtains for fashionable society types not only gives her confidence in her organizing abilities but teaches her to sew, a skill soon to be very useful. Wooed by Martin Angus, a student of her father’s, Alexia thinks she’s in love and marries, but two years later Martin leaves her, pregnant, for a former flame. A gift of decaying Bewick Castle in Scotland from her uncle James soon tests her mettle further as she copes with daughter Carly while transforming the near-ruin into an elegant and acclaimed hotel. Doing this, she meets neighbor Duncan Mc Gill, who seems to disapprove of her work. Though attracted to him, she understands he’s about to marry someone else, but that doesn’t stop her running to him when Martin threatens her and Carly. Misunderstandings cleared up, she soon marries Duncan. By 1988, Carly, at 21, is ready to leave the nest. Not wanting to run Mum’s hotel, she decides to visit Afghanistan to experience what ancestress Charlotte did. Joining a documentary team, she falls in love—futilely—with its leader, Tom, and is moved, once in Afghanistan, by the plight of refugees. Back in London, she’s lost Tom but has found something as important—a purpose.
With some darker shading—graphic details of the refugee camps—an unabashedly romantic tale of love and adventure for a contemporary heroine who understands there’s more to life than a man.