ALL THEIR KINGDOMS by Madeleine A. Polland


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Essentially implausible, this is nonetheless an ingratiating family-dynasty feather-duster, set in Ireland and America beginning in 1873. Celia Healey, daughter of a meek, long-suffering mother and an insufferable lout of a Pa, has been raised as a lady in the hopes that a rich husband will spring the run-down Healey farm from ruin. But Celia is rescued from just such a hideous arranged marriage by prosperous Dublin businessman Matt O'Connor, who sweeps her to wifedom in a handsome townhouse and the nearby estate of Owenscourt. So, in spite of Celia's qualms about the sinisterly seductive presence of Peggy Julius (wife of Matt's agent), she is wildly happy with Matt and their two sons, Owen and Emmet. But then Matt dies of the fever, and Celia, the prime idiot, makes her will leaving control of Matt's property, until Owen's majority, to her greedy brother Hugh Charles. And when Celia promptly dies, evil Hugh Charles whips the boys out of school, sells just about everything, and it's Hard Times as the focus fails on young Owen--who's deeply in love with Peggy's daughter Antonia. In fact, when Antonia learns she's illegitimate and ashamedly flees to America, Owen attempts to find her--and after he nearly starves in New York, he's raised Horatio Alger-fashion by millionaire financier Phineas Turnbull. Back to Ireland, then, to find Antonia (yes, she's back) and spill his news--that he has evidence Antonia is legitimate after all! At last Owen and Antonia marry, with a N.Y. rainbow to pots of gold--but Antonia, withering from her life's ordeal, takes a fatal overdose of laudunum at childbirth. With a years-later fadeout at family manse Owenscourt--flummery all the way, but pleasing for undemanding romantics with a sweet tooth.

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 1981
Publisher: Delacorte