THE BEACON by Susan Barrett


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A year or so in the life of divorced Katharine Mullen, with a middle-aged muss of love and sex patchily tidied up. After 20 years of marriage, husband Nick has nm off with a younger woman--so now Katharine has bought a cottage in England's rural west country for herself and teenagers Lucy and Chris. Among the neighbors: elderly Cedric Marsh, who heads an organization which hopes to prevent planes from roaring overhead; taciturn Duncan and wife Naomi, who take in holiday visitors; and drifting Tony, a young man as casual about his women as he is with his life. (Katharine falls under Tony's sexy spell and they become lovers . . . till he glides away.) But, while beginning to ""fit in"" the community, Kate feels mysteriously drawn to a local landmark: the Beacon, an ancient stone obelisk on a hill, which she remembers visiting as a child. And the feelings Katharine had when she moved away from London--that she wanted Nick back--start to wither. So she's then free to fall deeply in love with Duncan, who finds Naomi no longer the fragile feminine artist he had married, but a compulsive workaholic. Still, Katharine respects the marriage (she doesn't know Naomi is dying), and she therefore will return to London. . . after a good-bye climb to that old phallic symbol, the Beacon, and a sprig of rosemary from Duncan. More a pen-light than a beacon, in fact--but, if over-facile, this is a decorative nouveau-formula romance, with chatty village business and sunny scenery.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's