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SILVER NUTMEG by Norah Lofts

SILVER NUTMEG

By Norah Lofts

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1947
Publisher: Doubleday

Knopf has previously published Norah Lofts- and this is her first novel on Doubleday's list. Again- as in some of her earlier work- she has chosen a remote period, and this time a remote setting- the Dutch East Indies, in the mid 17th century. There Hollanders grew rich on legal- and illegal- traffic in nutmegs, to which they owned a monopoly, jealously guarded. There, supreme in the grandeur that contradicted his lowly birth, lived a nutmeg prince, who, through his sea-faring half-brother achieved a ""glove marriage"" with the daughter of the great man of his boyhood village. But rheumatic fever had wrecked her beauty, and in distaste, Evert turns her over to a native witch doctor with whom he has had mysterious dealings. Her beauty restored, Evert finds he is too late, and rages against his unknown rival (who is actually Christy Ayrton, English refugee, with whom he had secret dealings -- and whom Annabet and Shal Ahmi had rescued and hidden). Shal Ahmi held his power through sly forms of blackmail -- the rebellion of the natives his secret aim. The marriage foundered -- Annabet, unwittingly, betrayed her husband's interests, and her love lost his life. At the end, in destroying Shal Ahmi she restores her own self respect- and joins her lover in death. Lots of color and drama and romance -- but the pace slows down and the final impression is of a solidly written, over-caparisoned yarn.