JOHN TURNBULL by Taylor Caldwell


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A period novel of London and New York, from 1850 on, a period when scoundrels profited by the crying needs of American cotton mills for English patents, by the new open door policy in the Far East, by the prohibitions implicit in the Civil War blockade, and so on. This is the story of a life dominated and wrecked by revenge and hate. John Turnbull was chested of the girl cousin to whom he was plighted by a scurvy trick on the part of a young dandy about town, Andrew Bollister, who got John drunk and married him off to a barmaid, while making off with the pale Eugenia himself. John and his vulgar and beautiful and terrified Lilybelle were shipped to America; en route he met his evil genius, Wilkins, who used his hate and hurt and passion to his own ends. They brought ruin on those who stood in their way, among them the uncle of the dastardly Rollister. They waxed rich and unhappy. John had three daughters, and there's more than a hint of Lear in their treatment of their father. But in the end, his cup is dashed from him, when Adelaide, who alone loved him, marries young Bollister, and link fortunes with Wilkins, well knowing what that involves. Full bodied story, but overlong, and looking the pace of her other books. An unpleasant gallery of characters, at best.

Publisher: Scribner