Wild Jasmine

Bertrice Small, Author Ballantine Books $10 (658p) ISBN 978-0-345-36862-1
Set in the early 17th century, the sixth volume about ``the magnificent'' Skye O'Malley and her family follows her granddaughter Yasaman Kama Begum, daughter of Indian Grand Mughal Akbar and Velvet O'Malley. Yasaman's husband is murdered by Salim, her half-brother, who wishes to resume his former incestuous relationship with her. Yasaman's friends have her spirited off to England, where Jasmine, as she is now called, joins Skye's household and the beautiful, sexually uninhibited widow dazzles the men. When Jasmine remarries, her husband has King James deed her an Irish estate; the tale detours through rural Ireland and Small's superficial assessment of Anglo-Irish problems (``Why can the Irish not learn to get along with the English? One nation conquering another is nothing new'') before tragedy strikes again. Small's ( A Moment in Time ) pointless repetitions and details that simply pad the story could have been pruned by editing, but more than editing is required to repair a tale in which the characters' costumes are almost as well developed as their personalities. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/1992
Release date: 08/01/1992
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