STRANGERS' FOREST by Pamela Hill

STRANGERS' FOREST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

No boy-meets-girl-etc. stuff for offbeat Pamela Hill (The Heatherton Heritage); she prefers instead married-couple-seeks-fulfilled-sex/married-couple-misses-fulfilled-sex/married-couple-gets-fulfilled-sex. Wandering Scots fur trader Andrew Farquharson marries Primrose Tebb in 1781 when she is only twelve, but no matter; it's not her hand but her land he's after. It seems he has this giant pine cone (the Eye of Polyphemus) given him by the dying chief of an exterminated Indian tribe in Canada, and Primrose's ancestral estate, Pless, is the ideal spot to plant this miraculous seed, from which trees grow to mast length in ten years, no less. Primrose is sent off to school, where she becomes quite rowdy, while Fraquharson's sidekick, the half-Indian Saginaw, become the local Valentino, siring bastards up and down the countryside and seducing even cool and beautiful Penuel, Primrose's adored older cousin. This affair and Penuel's death from a septic abortion naturally turn little Primrose off sex. But Farquharson doesn't notice for some years, being preoccupied with forestry, until he is misled by her highspirited romps with the neighborhood rake into thinking the worst and asserting his conjugal rights in a manner that reinforces Primrose's primness. All is eventually resolved in bed with the help of a forest fire. Timberrrrrr!

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's