CASHMERE by Nicola Thorne

CASHMERE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There's not much fluffy stuff in this busy, business-like chronicle of the career and rather joyless amours of Margaret Dunbar--she of Scotland's Dunbar woolen mills. At the start, circa 1918, papa Hector has lost all interest in the mills after the WW I death of his eldest son. So Margaret, who has the family business-head but is unfortunately female, pressures her weak brother Cullum to leave Oxford and take over--though he's not at all thrilled about the production of undergarments. Meanwhile, then, Margaret pursues romance--attracted to nice Ruthven Pendreigh (scion of Dunbar's old competitor), then really ignited up in wicked London (where she does some modeling) by fascinating Bruno Macallister. Bruno turns out to be a cad, of course. But he'll be the one--when the Macallisters (yarn importers and suppliers) buy into Dunbar mills--who insists that Margaret take on the post of Design and Development exec. So now, at last unleashed, Margaret will take Dunbar's from Cullum's flaccid, stumbling years into a new era--with high fashion and innovations in fine-cashmere use. And what of her love life? Well, there'll be a going-nowhere affair with married engineer Hamish, then marriage to elegant, beloved Yves Lamotte from France--who gives Margaret a daughter . . . but gives his passion to Dunbar's top designer, Peter . . . while Margaret gets pregnant from a reunion with Hamish. (Yves will accept baby Charles as his own.) The rest of the family, too, has domestic troubles: Margaret refuses to let Cullum divorce his wife and marry the woman he loves (mother of illegitimate son William); Bruno marries Margaret's sister Susan--but then divorces her for model Clare (whose unstable husband will run amok). And finally, after bowing out of management for a while in search of better Motherhood, Margaret returns to the helm and presides over a cross-stitching of second-generation matchups. (As for Margaret herself, Ruthven--remember him?--reappears for a hopeful fadeout.) A straight-knit dynasty tale--reprocessed but sturdy.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday