A PRICE FOR EVERYTHING by Mary Sheepshanks


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 An amusing though featherweight romp through the English countryside, this time pitting the love for husband against love for manor house, with predictable results. Young and lovely Sonia, the Lady Duntan, is an enviable superwoman--she has four energetic children, a houseful of dogs, a career as an artist, the lovable Minnie, who tends to the children and meals, and, finally, the breathtaking ancestral home of her husband. And, in truth, much of the guilty delight in this debut novel comes from the vicarious thrill delivered by Sheepshanks's description of such an idyllic life. There's a serpent in this Eden, however, in the form of husband Archie. Though not a bad chap, Archie refuses to support Sonia's dreams of restoring the old house, which is literally crumbling down around the family and is too costly to maintain. Archie's stubbornness, coupled with his not-so-clandestine affair with torrid neighbor Rosie, has Sonia ready to wage war. Thrown into the battle is Archie's gold-digging, globe-trotting mother, who has decided to claim the house as a refuge for her newest interest, the cult-like Brotherhood of Love. Sonia's last hope is the Heritage at Risk Foundation, an organization that may be willing to pay for repairs if the house is opened to the public. Woven through Sheepshanks's leisurely descriptions of country life from village vicar to arrangements for the shooting season, is the record of Sonia's burgeoning romance with the Foundation's director. The story ends with a hammer-and- nails description of the Duntan house restoration, along with the happy voices of children in the background. An enjoyably insubstantial look at the British upper crust and its desperate attempts to keep its houses together, both literally and figuratively.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14394-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1996


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