MIDSUMMER'S EVE by Philippa Carr
Kirkus Star


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Carr's tree-ful of love-bashed heroines first sprouted in Tudor times (The Lion Triumphant, 1974), and the family has, a dozen novels later, tendrill-ed into the early Victorian era. The latest lass who chronicles crises of love and calamity is Annora Cadorson, daughter of Sir Jake of Cornwall (The Return of the Gypsy, 1985). The events of the Midsummer Eve in Cornwall when Annora was nine years old-happy with loving parents and brother Jacco--overshadow her later problems of the heart. Who was it that night (when old Mother Ginny was murdered by villagers) who led them and took a ritual leap over the bonfire in a hooded monk's robe? Annora knew and adored the owner of the robe--her handsome neighbor, Rolf Hanson. Annora and Jacco rescue Mother Ginny's grandson, wild Digory, who, alas, will be transported to Australia for poaching. (You may be sure he'll surface by the close). A grown-up Annora is off to London to visit the family of Uncle Peter--one of Cart's heavies who does bad things but is really good deep-down. Political Peter ruins the reputation of an opponent, but he's in Annora's corner when it counts. Then it's off to Australia with parents, Jacco, and pregnant unmarried cousin Helena, who's been jilted by a weakling lord. But there's a saving marriage, a birthing, and for Annora the unwelcome courtship of a rugged Aussie. Later, tragedy brings Armors, Helena and family back home, squired by none other than Roll. Is he or isn't he just interested in her land? Was he or wasn't he the fire jumper? It looks for a time as if Annora has lost family, home--and Rolf--but then there's a clarifying reunion complete with gunshot in Mother Ginny's woods. In Carr's multigenerational series, more of the same--competent, monotonically narrated, and neat-edged.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1986
Publisher: Putnam