FRAGILE HERITAGE by Sara Hylton

FRAGILE HERITAGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another hybrid gothic from the author of similar efforts (like Tomorrow's Rainbow, 1988), set in Yorkshire around the time of WW I. Hylton's heroine now is a West Riding lass named Ellen Adair, who runs away from home with her flashy, redheaded friend, Kitty McGuire, due to the bloody beatings her father's been inflicting upon her, not to mention the lust Ellen's seen budding in his eyes. In Liverpool, the two girls work for a time at a home for seamen before Kitty paints her face and becomes a harlot and before Ellen's dragged back to Yorkshire by her domineering Aunt Liza. Next, Ellen's taken in by the wealthy de Bellefort family of nearby Langford Priory, since she looks uncommonly like flighty young Lisanne de Bellefort (indeed, granny de Bellefort eventually lets on that Ellen is kin, though illegitimately). Then it's off to France with Lisanne, where Ellen meets up with Kitty again, now a chanteuse billed as Emerald who croons ""I'll Be Seeing You"" in fashionable nightclubs and consorts with German officers during the Occupation. It's Kitty who convinces Ellen to take over Lisanne's identity when the girl is killed in a shipwreck on her way to Ireland to marry her cousin Gervase. So Ellen weds Gervase in Lisanne's place, bears a son, and becomes Milady de Bellefort--all unhappily, of course, until she fesses up about herself to her husband, who ultimately decides an Ellen is as good as a Lisanne. Full of predictable turns, soporifically written, and unconvincing, since the Ellen of the first half of the book is too good to become such an audacious poseur.

Pub Date: Dec. 13th, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's