A LEAF IN THE WIND by Marie Joseph


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The author of Maggie Craig (p. 294) propels another poor early-20th-century Lancashire lass on to happiness, again through an unwise marriage, hard times, and a star-crossed love affair. Jenny Macartney, who lives in drear with constantly weeping mum Mollie and dangerously drunken step-father Harry, is at her wit's end. She's been let go from her job and has had to hold off Harry with a poker. So Jenny accepts the proposal of odd Mr. Waring, a pious, eerily genteel clerk, who turns out to be a sadistic maniac in bed. Fortunately, then, Mr. Waxing is promptly, accidentally, killed by Harry--and Waring's batty sister Agnes drives Jenny from the house. So Jenny sets out, starving and cold, to find work in another town--where she's taken on as a maid-of-all-work at Cedar House. And though mistress Mrs. Bleasdale, with her ""cut glass accent,"" is horrid, two visitors cheer Jenny up mightily: there's handsome Paul Tunstall of High Trees, who is to marry Mrs. B.'s frail daughter Sarah (not knowing that Sarah has a few loose shingles), and there's Justice Ben Ibbotson, who soon becomes deeply involved in Jenny's affairs. Is there something about her family's history that has driven Ben to distraction--something having to do with Jenny's real father? Will Paul and Jenny ever get together? (The Paul/Sarah wedding goes through--disastrously.) What's the family secret? Well, once again Joseph lacks the Cookson bite, but her heroines are warmly appealing--and the coincidences and implausibilities are just part of the light romantic charm here.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's