THE CHAINS OF FATE by Pamela Belle


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In The Moon in the Water (p. 533), young narrator Thomasina (""Thomazine"") Heron fell in mid-17th-century love with her cousin Francis--but, believing him dead, wound up married to vile Sir Dominic, giving birth to baby Kit. . . only to discover that Francis is alive, up north near the Scottish border! (For a complete Moon summary, see Belle's dense, seven-page prologue here.) So now, abandoning husband and child, the anguished but love-possessed Thomazine treks north in search of Francis, along with her beloved Irish chum, widowed mum-of-two Grainne. Civil War-related ordeals ensue; eventually Thomazine reaches the Scottish household where Francis and other supporters of Royalist guerrilla Montrose hide out; Francis, furious and abusive at first, eventually responds to Thomazine's eternal devotion. But then, because of tangled loyalties, the lovers must part again--with Thomazine & Co. fleeing south, down to Oxford and the Heron estate of Goldhayes, while Francis (disillusioned with the Royalist cause) goes off to join the Levellers. Meanwhile, estranged husband Sir D. has obligingly died, so little son Kit can now join his mother at Goldhayes: understandably bratty and bitter at first, he'll soon adore Thomazine. Meanwhile, too, Francis' young brother Jamie (newlywed at Goldhayes to scheming vixen Meraud) has become a wild Royalist fanatic--winding up killed in a skirmish, skewered by none other than. . . his own guilt-ridden brother Francis! And so there'll be several more obstacles--including yet another betrayal by evil Meraud--before Thomazine and army-deserter Francis (with a baby daughter and marriage vows at last) settle down to domestic bliss at Goldhayes. Ploddingly drawn-out (512 pp.) and a busy blur when it comes to all those Civil War factions--but a hard-working, unobjectionable amalgam of high-strung romance, family-saga woes, and potted history.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Berkley