In Still and Stormy Waters

Reay Tannahill, Author
Reay Tannahill, Author St. Martin's Press $25.95 (520p) ISBN 978-0-312-11411-4
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In this richly detailed Victorian romance, Tannahill (Dark and Distant Shore) tells of two cousins, Sophie and Rachel Macmillan, who grow up on different continents only to end up fierce rivals for possession of a castle-and a man's love. In the mid-1800s, eight-year-old Rachel finds herself transported from the slums of London to Juran, a castle in the Scottish Highlands, after her mother marries its owner, immensely wealthy Scotsman Daniel Macmillan. Daniel is Rachel's natural father and the marriage legitimizes her, but only after a tragic accident does the truth about Rachel's parentage become publicly known. After yet another accident, Rachel narrowly escapes a murder charge and becomes mistress of Juran. The lively narrative weaves back and forth between Rachel's life in the wild Highlands and Sophie's in bustling Hong Kong, where she grows up motherless. As the daughter of Daniel's late older brother, Sophie eventually decides to lay claim to her birthright. She and Rachel then battle over the title to Juran-and the affections of the dark, sexy banker Rainer Blake. To Rachel, Juran symbolizes both her freedom and her servitude; ultimately, she discovers that to be truly free, she must endure monumental sacrifice. Tannahill's writing is wordy and melodramatic, with a too-glib ending, but memorable characters and vividly painted scenes help to offset these flaws and to keep readers entertained. (Nov.)
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