DANSVILLE by Robin McCorquodale


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If the late Taylor Caldwell and Barbara Cartland had ever hunkered down in a 1940's Texas bunkhouse, they might have produced something like this huffin'-puffin' buffalo of a romance about a strong woman, tamed by two strong men (at different times), who, matching her lover strength for strength, changes a ""savage"" boy into a well-rounded man. It was athlete Foley Menutis, with his ""outrageous maleness,"" who blasted into tomboy Elaine's life and introduced her to the ""sweeter options of womanhood."" Foley was quite a parcel: ""the insistence of his flanks, the gracious curves of his torso, the great arms and chest. . ."" Well! They marry and it's a happy one--Elaine willingly submitting to Foley's loving domination. But Foley is killed in WW II. Now, three years later, Elaine catches the burning eye of Hugh Littleton, a Princeton student, younger than she, heir to the ranching empire of boss Clarence Littleton. Hugh has the effect of a stun gun on solitary, hard-working Elaine (her son Jimmy lives with her parents). Neglected by a porcelain mother, made ""selfish"" by Dad, and fiery, darkly beautiful, with the obsessive energy, the ""royal demeanor of a prince,"" Hugh demands subservience. Can she give in? Yes, yes, in spite of Hugh's insistence that she no longer wear her wedding ring. Everyone, except boss Clarence--who reckons an affair with a wise, beautiful older woman is healthy--tries to break up the affair between this woman from a farm family and the Rancher's son. Elaine worries--""Somehow they would take him from her, tether him, cripple him, neuter him."" Not on your chuck wagon--although Hugh does become engaged to a socially suitable girl. There'll be blows and recriminations, and, after Hugh leaves her, Elaine drops a foal. Hugh will learn from now-fierce Elaine about how men and women are different, but when two strong lovers meet--equal. (Along the way there are two other marriages explored--difficult ones, to show how crazy some love can be.) Heavy-breathing passion which flowers over 370 lowering pages (there's no explicit sex, however). To some, hogwash, but never underestimate the appeal of Texas corn where men are men, ma'am, and women go for those insistent flanks.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 1985
Publisher: Harper & Row