FLAME-COLORED TAFFETA by Rosemary Sutcliff
Kirkus Star


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The preeminent master of British historical fiction for young people turns her hand to the 18th century, a story of smugglers on the Sussex coast and an emissary of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Damaris, farmer's daughter, and Peter, vicar's son, are secretly nursing an injured vixen in an abandoned woodland cottage; when Damaris finds a wounded man nearby, they assume he's a smuggler. Enlisting the aid of Genty, the wise woman and healer, they house him with the vixen, extricate a bullet, and do their best to nurse him. The man calls himself Tom Wildgoose, and he carries letters for the lost cause to which he is ruefully loyal. The vixen, cured, runs free; when the squire's hounds trail her to the cottage, endangering Damaris, Tom heroically poses as a French smuggler and is captured. His subsequent escape is exciting but bittersweet: Damaris never sees him again, but five years later he sends her, as promised, flame-colored taffeta for her wedding petticoat. In Sutcliff's hands, this conventional plot is transformed by skillfully evocative use of historical detail, deft orchestration of characters and events, and balanced, economical use of language. Both lively adventure and love story, it should find a wider audience than books she has set in the more distant past.
Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1986
ISBN: 0374423415
Page count: 129pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1986


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