THIS SPLENDID EARTH by V. J. Banis

THIS SPLENDID EARTH

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

When young aristocrat Anne de Grenville (with ""a body designed and planned for love"") is jilted by her guardsman (with a body ""hard, lean, designed for love""), she weds wilful Baron Jean de Brussac, more than twice her age. This marriage-of-the-year (1830) infuses the impecunious de Grenville line with live-giving de Brussac money and launches a 50-year saga, taking three de Brussac generations and invaluable Chateau de Brussac cutting vines from civil-war-torn France to untried California. Anne's transformation from callow, shallow bride to stalwart pioneer woman (who loses her life courageously coming between granddaughter Mary and a badman) isn't quite convincing. Neither are the Parisian villains, Count Hector de TrÉmorel and his bedmate-sister Antoinette, veritable pillars of immorality (seemingly sprung from the pages of Les Liaisons Dangereuses) who efficiently seduce all three young second-generation de Brussacs--Claude, Marie, RenÉ--and trigger the duels, arrests, and death sentences that send the de Brussac clan fleeing to a new-born Los Angeles. Still, there's no shortage of chewable scenery here: uprisings, massacres, fires, doomed Indians, plague, raids, evil Antoinette's transatlantic vendetta against unsuspecting Claude (she dies trying to brushfire him to death), titillating seductions, and the long wagon trail west. For sheer quantity of incident and variety of locale, this California-Here-Nous-Commes will be hard to out-bustle.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 1977
Publisher: St. Martin's