HESTER ROON by Norah Lofts


Email this review


This falls into the same category as Colin Lowrie, but I found it a less well-balanced piece of writing, slow in getting underway, overwritten, padded at the start. Once the scene shifts to the Western Hemisphere, the story gathers pace and becomes almost melodramatic. The period is the mid-18th century, the scene shifts from a London public house, where a slave bears an illegitimate child, to a Caribbean island, where that child, fresh from a convict ship, where accident of circumstance had conspired to put her, is at 18 made the maid and confidante of the daughter-in-law of the grande dame. The situation is complicated by the girl's fear of the blacks, by the suspicions and resentments of the mother-in-law, by the son, who runs the plantation reluctantly, and who finds marriage at odds with his sexual apathy. In spite of this, Hester is fascinated by him -- and turns away from the offer of honorable marriage from a neighbor. Then comes the slave rebellion -- and the two men are shown up in their true values. The ending is in accordance with the best dictates of romantic fiction. Disappointing. Norah Lofts can do better work.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1940
ISBN: 075317734X
Publisher: Knopf