Silver Touch

Rosalind Laker, Author
Rosalind Laker, Author Doubleday Books $16.95 (356p) ISBN 978-0-385-23745-1
Reviewed on: 06/01/1987
Release date: 06/01/1987
Based on the true story of Hester Bateman, an indomitable 18th century English silversmith, this novel by the veteran author of historical romance compassionately chronicles her life from age 12 to 83, as well as the triumphs and catastrophes befalling her six children. After her mother's death, Hester lives with relatives at their tavern. There, the lissome, vivacious girl attracts John Bateman, senior apprentice to a respected goldsmith named Harwood. Although he is courting Harwood's daughter and is expected to obey the rule of sexual abstinence imposed on all apprentices, John's fully reciprocated passion for Hester leads to her pregnancy. Outraged, Harwood expels and blacklists John, whose professional downfall follows his clandestine wedding to Hester. Despite poverty, the Batemans persevere heroically, then stabilize their finances when John sets up his own thriving shop, where he tutors Hester in the crafting of precious metals. While John's artistic stature grows, Hester absorbs his knowledge, rejoices when her sons enter the business and patiently observes her family's eventful lives unfold. Each of these lifelike, affectionately etched characters commands attention, as does Laker's quietly moving portrayal of the Bateman clan's passage through the eternal circuit of birth, marriage and death. (July 3)
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