Easy reading for the late summer
AN AFFAIR WITH THE MOON, by Terence de Vere White (Gollancz, I5s.).
ONE MAN'S ISLAND, by Elizabeth Ache (Longmans, 15s.).
FLOWERS FROM 'I'llE ENEMY, by G. Rowbottom (Seeker. 13s. 6d.).
LUCIA WILMOT. by. %Iffy K. Harris (Chatto, 15s.).
PLEASANT. easy reading for a late summer holiday-that sums up three out of these four novels. The first, "An Affair with the Moon", is a frothy hit of nonsense about a staid middle-aged solicitor who has to marry a silly little amoral woman.
He marries her because he is cited as co-respondent in her divorce, but no good reason is given for his ever having got involved. There arc some funny scenes when he is sold a crumbling old Georgian mansion as a bargain, and not so funny ones as she runs through all his money, for her extravagance is as hopeless as her morals.
do get tired of this particular type of heroine who crops up with deadly regularity in contemporary novels, but perhaps that is a purely feminine criticism!
44 NE Man's island" and "Flowers from the Enemy" are both fairly serious and competent novels. Each deals with a plausible situation. The first is about the relationship between John, a get-away-from-it-all dweller on a small "outpost of the 13riiish Empire" island. and Chris, hollow-checked. pretty and still quite young, mother of three.
Both are friendly intelligent people anxious to do right by themselves, each other. and the outside world in general. There is a small revolution that brings out characteristics neither knew they possessed. If there is not much action in the book apart from this, that is a minor criticism; it all drifts along pleasantly enough. "Flowers from the Enemy" on the other hand has almost too much action. Anne married Julius before the war although she was in Joys with the narrator. During the war she disappeared and was presumed dead. Julius remarried.
Anne turns up, but she has lost her memory and does not remember either Julius or the narrator. Julius* is determined she Shall remember and puts the narrator on to jogging her memory.
Yes. it could happen, and it says much for the book that it strenuously avoids throughout the "woman's magazine" cliche approach to the situation. The end ing is melodramatic and leaves questions still hanging in the air.
THIS brings us to the last book on the list and the only one that lays claim to more than a transitory interest. Mary K. Harris is a bitter author with. seemingly, a grudge against a Catholic upbringing.
The character of herook, Lucia Wilmot, was sent to 'a convent at an early age where her natural vitality was stunted and her attractiveness to men frowned on. Her mother. devoted to good works. contributes to the process.
It is interesting and incongruous that Lucia's convent is described as Anglican. The careful bringing in of this fact is the only prosaic touch in an otherwise extraordinal y hook. tinged with superstition.
It is not easy reading but those who remember Miss Harris' earlier hook "My Darling from the Lion's Mouth" will know what to expect and others may sample her bitter brew.