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DAMIAN by Melissa Mather



Pub Date: April 1st, 1986
Publisher: Franklin Watts

Mather's (Rough Road Home, One Summer in Between, Tamarack) current neo-Gothic romance--her hard-cover debut--featuring an American woman in distress in the Greek isles. Kay Cunningham is beautiful, blonde, and suffering over the death of her 7-year-old son, David, one year before. David died during a sledding mishap for which Kay blames herself. She and husband, Mike, travel to Greece to meet Damien, a boy to whom they'll be foster parents. They take separate planes out of long habit--a precaution for the now-deceased David, an only child by necessity (Kay can't have more). Kay isn't eager to meet Damien; she's angry, she's depressed. She lands. Can't cope. Doesn't eat. Languishes in her hotel. Is periodically adopted and dismissed by a group of German tourists. Is perhaps followed by her airline seatmate, a sleazy wine salesman. Eventually, Kay is taken to Damien's family in remote Pyrgototafos, a village by the sea, where predictably she falls in love with 10-year-old Damien, everyone's idea of a wonderful kid. Mike doesn't arrive. Turns out he's been kidnapped. The wine salesman did it. The salesman and a German tourist get offed before Mike is found, alive. The co-villain was Damien's handsome uncle, Kostas, who drives a cab and has a passion for Kay; he gets blown apart by a landmine in the end. Damien, very proud, refuses adoption, but his guilt over his uncle's landmine demise enables Kay to purge her own guilt (over David) by comforting him. Not very suspenseful; and not very romantic, either. The dialogue can be wooden (wine salesman, re having kids: ""I dunno but what you're lucky. What it costs to raise 'em these days you wouldn't believe""). And the Greek ambiance, rather than evocative à la Mary Stewart, is merely depressing.