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Another volume in Davis’s wordy epic of women bonding in a Scottish glen. Davis (All We Hold Dear, 1995, etc.) structures her long reverie as a flashback. Eva Crawford, a musician and a student in Edinburgh, refuses to marry her lover, Rory, because she feels inexplicably insecure and disconnected. In several days, a kind of waking dream and the contents of an old trunk bring her back to her female ancestors: Mairi Rose Kittridge; her daughter, Ailsa; and Ailsa’s two half-sisters, Genevra Townsend and Wan Lian, all three girls sired by Charles Kittridge, a British diplomat who got around. There’s a section for each daughter: the first about Lian, who is forced to flee a sheltered life in China for a charming village in France, where an aristocrat artist teaches her that life need not be a vale of tears; another section about Genevra, a painter who is brought up in India and, while her soldier husband is away, nurses an estranged friend back to health, discovering her own spiritual strength; and Ailsa, who has returned to the glen after the death of her British husband and who is bringing up her extraordinary daughter, Ena, in her mother Mairi’s dirt-floored croft. Ailsa is also mending fences with her former childhood friend Jenny, with whose husband Ailsa conceived Ena. And Ena, a precocious child who speaks like a self-help manual with a Scottish burr and tends to wounded animals, is having a difficult time growing up. All the women in this Glen Estrogen (the guys are pretty much all off tending their crops) have magical intuitions and dreams that foretell the future. And their dreams lead them back to the glen just before Mairi’s death to bring closure to everyone’s spiritual quest among the burns and the ferns and the heather and the gloamin—. Davis writes romances for those, d—ya ken, who like to read about hidden spirits, exchange long, sensitive hugs, and talk about their feelings endlessly.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1999
ISBN: 0-671-73605-1
Page count: 528pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1999