For I Have Sinned

Malcolm MacDonald, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-13078-7
The 23rd novel from this prolific author (To the End of Her Days, etc.), a tale of the heart set primarily in Ireland during WWI, alternates emotionally moving passages with tedious ones. Finbar and Deborah McKenna are on board the ship carrying them from the Emerald Isle to their new home in South Africa when they discover that their seven-year-old daughter, Salome, has been left behind. Unknown to them, the girl has been found by Marion Culham-Browne, the wife of a British nobleman, who has just lost a daughter with a striking resemblance to Salome. Marion raises Salome in the family castle until her rich, cantankerous husband has the girl exiled to a nearby convent. There, Salome meets a kindhearted nun who helps her find her identity. Meanwhile, at the South African ostrich farm where Finbar has become a manager, a series of mysterious clues slowly reveals Salome's fate, prompting Deborah to return to Ireland to locate her daughter. Macdonald's plot twists are deftly placed, and his female characters are especially well drawn, but much of this is slow going, with many of the scenes and subplots lacking compelling historical detail. For all its heartfelt moments, this doesn't measure up to Macdonald's usual fast-paced historical fiction. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/03/1995
Release date: 07/01/1995
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