ANNIE'S CAPTAIN by Kathryn Hulme


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It is hard to identify this rather saccharine fictionalized family biography with the author of The Nun's Story and The Wild Place. It shares little of the intense but objective feeling and drama and perceptivity of the earlier books. Miss Hulme has drawn on the lives of her grandmother, Annie Bolles Cavarly, daughter of a Yankee merchant, and her grandfather, John M. Cavarly, a sea captain. Actually the book should be titled ""The Captain's Annie"", for it relates the domestic life of the wife of a sea faring man, with emphasis on departures and separations. John Cavarly served for seventeen years as captain of sailing vessels from New England around Cape Horn; and later when his ship was burned by the Confederates, on paddle steamers of the Pacific Mail Steampship Company, bound for the Orient. We learn little of the captain's voyages, but much of the repetitious home problems and childbirths. It is hard to take such a glossy, sentimentalized account of ""a delicate slip of a girl"" who gave her sea captain ""the curious little shock that coursed from his large brown palm into hers"". Annie died in 1890- her Captain of ""heartbreak"" five years later. There's no disagreeable word or thought recorded in what reads like a wholesome bedtime romance.

Publisher: Little, Brown- AMP