Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NO PRICE TOO HIGH by Madeleine A. Polland

NO PRICE TOO HIGH

By

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1984
Publisher: Delacorte

A flushed and tremulous romance about the trials of a patient Griselda named Isabella Frost, an outstanding 1925 beauty among other buds from wealthy families enrolled at Catchpole's select Finishing School for Young Ladies in Brighton. Isabella, only child of mine owner Angus Frost from Chile, is a decidedly hothouse flower, but her fragrant world is about to be dissolved. There's an earthquake in Chile; Father, Mother (later reported dead), and Money have completely disappeared. So the dreadful Catchpole finds Isabella employment as a draper's clerk and a room with a laundrywoman. Poor, gently reared Isabella--from chintz to tattered curtains, from delicate fare to bubble and squeak! Then, however, thanks to her only friend, humble maid Effie, Isabella does take a baby-step up as companion to an elderly lady--even if the household is unpleasant: Lady Angela is a mean old bird of 80 who drops her ear trumpet (by design) into her food, amuses Isabella at first, yet turns out to be ever-so-sweetly exploitative; Isabella is a slavey on constant call, working endlessly for this nasty family, which includes a slimy and lascivious son. Meanwhile, back in Chile--father Angus has survived, barely, because of the labors of Liam Powers, a gifted Irish doctor who's been methodically drinking himself to death (why is revealed much later). Angus, at first amnesiac, is restored; Liam's obsession with Angus' health keeps him from the booze; both sail to England to find Isabella. And by this time poor Isabella has jumped from the frying pan into the ice-box--via marriage to schoolmaster James Bennet, who turns out to be a swine: he won't even pay for their baby Clara's leg operation. (He's furious that Clara's not a boy and that Isabella can have no more children.) Eventually Angus and Isabella--both shadows of their former selves--will reunite; Liam and Isabella will fall in love; Isabella doffs threadbare cotton for silks; and Clara is tended to nicely. But Isabella won't break her vows to horrid husband James. The solution? Well, it's all as easy as pie in this whipped-cream romance, gracefully whorled, from the author of All Their Kingdoms, Sabrina, and others.