Song of Songs

Beverley Hughesdon, Author
Beverley Hughesdon, Author Warner Books $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-446-51543-6
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
A bestseller in England, this uneven and somewhat implausible epic portrays the generation of British aristocracy that galloped naively into WW I, only to smash into the horrific reality of modern warfare and endure its aftermath. Helena Girvan, daughter of the Earl of Pickering, showers her childish devotion on twin brothers Eddie and Robbie while distanced from elder siblings Alice and Guy, as well as from her socially prominent parents. With a childhood and adolescence spent mindlessly surrounded by the comforts of wealth, only her brothers' passion to join up prompts sheltered Helena to volunteer for nursing duty, first in an East London hospital and then on the battlefields of France. In highly compelling hospital scenes, disease, mutilation and death--including the loss of her fiance in battle--subject Helena to severe cultural and emotional shock and, mercifully, forge her personality. But when the war ends, our heroine slips back under Mother's domination until stumbling into an abrupt (and unlikely) marriage with the lower-class railman who was the twins' sergeant-major in France. The last third of the novel contains enough sex to make D. H. Lawrence seem quaint, and closes the saga on an improbable note. (May)
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