Honour and Obey

Malcolm MacDonald, Author
Malcolm MacDonald, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (463p) ISBN 978-0-312-01773-6
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
A strong-willed, very organized woman finds her own identity as she emerges from the debacle of a conventional marriage in Macdonald's ( The Silver Highways ) ninth novel. In London during the first decades of the 20th century, the tidy, comfortable world of Julia Somerville, whose husband calls her ``wifey'' or ``girlie,'' changes radically on his death. Thrust into the management of the prestigious Somerville autoworks, she becomes a liberated woman in every sense, leading the company into the air age with the help of an attractive, laconic American aviation engineer. As Julia goes from business triumphs to social gatherings, she is the delight of gossip columnists and a familiar at soirees where Churchill and other celebrities accept her ideas, which, as a woman, she may only subtly suggest. Julia's love life is busy and complicated, especially when she meets a journalist who is, for a time, her sister's husband. Macdonald's canvas teams with historically appropriate eventsprofascist demonstrations in England, Nazi activity endangering the Somerville works in Germany, rampant anti-Semitism. If readers find the aviation terminology a bit labored, they will be pleased to concentrate instead on spirited Julia. (August)
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