Echo

Violet Keppel Trefusis, Author Viking Books $17.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-670-83541-6
In this 1931 novel by a lover of Vita Sackville-West (and the daughter of King Edward VII's mistress Alice Keppel), an irresistibly sophisticated heroine distracts the reader from a plot overcast with disasters. Sauge is an elegant Parisian sent to her aunt's Scottish home for a rest cure; Aunt Agnes, the Lady Balquidder, is also the guardian of ungainly twins, 20-year-old brother and sister Malcolm and Jean, who, refusing to be socialized, spend all their time hunting on the moors or plotting in the room they call the ``arsenal'' (`` `In France . . . you don't have children like that,' '' Agnes apologizes to Sauge, ``as one might say, `In France you don't have bandits now, do you? You don't see wolves any more?' ''). Sauge, for her own divertissement, sets out to tame the two, practicing on them her literally fatal charms. The international cast allows sly Trefusis, who wrote the novel in French, innumerable opportunities for witticisms about various ethnic types: ``In the Scotswoman, every paradox is on view: . . . mysticism battling against the role of the housewife; Calvinism crashing through the haunts of the great god Pan.'' Sinfully good. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
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