CENTENARY AT JALNA by Mazo de la Roche


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For the fans, here's a round-up of the Whiteoaks, under the aegis of Renny, who rejoices in his role of pater familias, even when it involves the disgruntled and the problem children. The occasion is the build-up to the centenial celebration, but this is engineered to extend over several months, to culminate in the hundredth Christmas, the festivities in the Spring, and the wedding of the inheritors of the names and mantels of the original Adeline and Philip. That they bore slight resemblance to their forebears in character and that they were not in the least in love bothered Renny not at all. Adeline, on the very eve of her wedding found herself reinvolved in her affair with Fitzturgis, while Maurice knew that his old passion for Adeline had never died. Small comfort and no promise for the marriage with which the story closes. There has been tragedy of another sort here, too, in Finch's marriage to Sylvia:- first, small Dennis turns out to be another ""bad seed"" -- and is actually responsible for Sylvia's death; second, the baby, Ernest, whose birth was the reason assumed, is rejected by Finch -- and the source of concern and emotional disturbance on various counts. All in all, while the atmosphere and setting will give nostalgic satisfaction to those who have followed the Jalna saga from its inception, the mood is a morbid one. And the writing suggests that odd bits of rejected material have been dredged up, refurbished and spun together into a rather forced whole. There is no sure, professional touch here.

Publisher: Little, Brown-AMP