OVER THE MOUNTAINS by Pamela Frankau


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This is the third and last installment of Pamela Frankau's trilogy, a kind of teashop Forsyte Saga and you can read the leaves before they settle at the bottom of the cup. Still, it is very soothing, particularly since less really happens here than in the earlier volumes (the book does suffer from a kind of narrative sprawl, part of which is geographical, New York, London, France, Bermuda, Hollywood, etc.). This one, as in the first (Slaves of the Lamp) is Thomas' story and Thomas is the least forgettable of the large Weston family, those they love, those they lose. He is the one who since childhood has had ""talisman phases,"" a very special gift he calls his magic. Now as the book opens during World War II (the series began in 1914), Thomas is reported missing and later dead, while Rab, whom he loves, is in France and has just emerged from the guilty responsibility of Noel's death (Noel she loved, and Noel by the way is a girl). Here and there, back and forth it goes until Thomas, who has not died but has been wounded, finally makes his way back-- to Rab.... It's reassuring (i.e., predictable); restful (i.e., undemanding) although readers will need the earlier volumes as an introduction to the Westons and this hands-across-the-sea Anglo-American continuity.

Publisher: Random House