AN OLD MAGIC by Ruth M. Arthur


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Depend on veteran British author Ruth Arthur to deliver an unhurried family saga which stretches from 1896 when Hanni forsakes her New England family to live in Wales as the wife of sheep farmer David Morgan to the 1970s and Clare, a shoo-in to be the next mistress of Morgan's Ground. As the ancestral home for more than 200 years, the sprawling sheep farm is steeped in family tradition--what Arthur refers to as ""an old magic."" Of course, there's another kind of magic as well, supplied by the Romany tribe of gypsies who keep turning up at the Morgan homestead with disturbing regularity. Just as the clairvoyant Bibi (matriarch) of the clan prophesies, the marriage between Hanni's son Davey and Sara, a sensuous violin-playing Romany, is disastrous--Sara abandons the farm and returns to her tribe where she remarries and eventually becomes the Bibi. Sara's gypsy genes also prove problematic for both her black-eyed daughter Malley, who never feels at home with either half of her heritage, and (a generation later) for her Romany grandson Jasper who gives up the nomadic life to tend sheep on Morgan's Ground. The characters are no more than quick studies, and this sort of mild romance-laced story is as old as the hills--or the moors in this case. But Arthur is on intimate terms with the terrain and this is made to order for the future fans of R. F. Delderfield.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1977
Publisher: Atheneum