THE CHERISHED WIVES: Vol. V of Bridges Over Time by Valerie Anand

THE CHERISHED WIVES: Vol. V of Bridges Over Time

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Book five in the author's Bridges Over Time series wherein beset men and women confront history's buffets and bounty--from 1036 on. We've now arrived in England's mid-18th century. Three women, crushed in the iron maiden of relationships with awful men, flail and fail, as all parties reach blindly for love. Beginning in 1740, there's George Whitmead of the East India Company, ponderous, thick-necked, and pleased he's found a suitable wife--the easily molded and ""charmingly inexperienced"" Lucy-Anne. Lucy-Anne is not sure what to expect, but Great-aunt Henrietta Whitmead (The Faithful Lovers, 1994) does know--and secretly leaves her niece money and a cottage. In a short time, George's insensitivity (he's put out there's no heir) and dismissal of his wife's intelligent management of the estate ignite a simmer of resentment--a simmer that becomes a roaring flame when Lucy-Anne finds comfort with caring Stephen, the educated bailiff. The two conceive a child, born in Henrietta's cottage and raised by a couple in Bath. In India, meanwhile, George--unaware, of course--plays pasha with his dancing girl, a gift from a local ruler. Much later, Lucy-Anne and George's daughter-in-law, Emma, wife of their son Henry (a chip off the old blockhead), will find a possible soulmate, except that the affair's stillborn and her life snuffed out. Then poor young Sophia, one of the couple's three daughters, has a violent affair and is rescued by Henry--but for what? By the end, four women will have become the prisoners of Henry's acidulous ""cherishing."" He'll even train his own son in keeping his womenfolk away from ""violence or temptation from other men or the perils of their own frailty."" This hysterical vow is taken on the heels of a terrifying revelation. Will even one of the women break out for Book VI? Stay tuned. Closeted, claustrophobic domestica, but with convincing historical Indian detail.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1996
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's