THE HEART SPEAKS MANY WAYS by Madeleine A. Polland


Email this review


Another willowy British/European romance chiming with evocative scenery, upper-caste amenities, and demi-quavers of the heart--sharpened here by some solid detail about the WW II work of WAAF plane trackers. Emily McRoss, Irish gentry, intends to stay for a third year with her friend Remedios, daughter of an atristocratic Spanish family. But then Emily is stunned by the marriage proposal of gloriously handsome Alejandro--who, she thought, was in love with Remedios. So, while Spain trembles at the edge of the terrible Civil War, Emily's ""whole world now was ringed with light. . . Alejandro is my man and nothing will ever be the same again."" Emily is left waiting at the church, however, when Alejandro is called away to war; and, together with her friend Anna, she is sent home to her widowed mother and three brothers. Will Emily forget Alejandro in Ireland? Yes indeed--especially when news comes of an Alejandro/Remedios marriage (they clung together when both their families were slaughtered) and when Anna's brother Dermont appears: the two fall in love and plan marriage. But then comes WW II! Will Dermont, who will be reported missing in the Far East, become as insubstantial as Alejandro? Emily joins the WAAFs and begins a lengthy, difficult, yet satisfying stint in a secret Sussex station tracking aircraft. (""I have marvellously interesting and sometimes exacting work, and in a most wizard place,"" she writes Mother.) Less satisfying: Emily's sudden, inexplicable love for milkman's son Sam, a corporal of low degree, with a bony face and razor-thin mouth, who has nothing but contempt for the upper classes. He also has a vicious, drab wife in an airless, drab cottage. But Sam won't stop proposing (his wife wants a divorce). . . until Dermont comes back, the bluebirds finally make it over the white cliffs, and Emily and Dermont leave decimated families to live again in Spain. (Poor Sam.) A leisurely throbber with no heavy breathing. . . but lots of mooning about.

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 1982
Publisher: Delacorte