A House of Women

H. E. Bates, Author
H. E. Bates, Author Severn House Publishers $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7278-1644-3
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
While the late author did not have the evocative imagery of Mary Webbhis British contemporary in the earlier part of this centurythere is a haunting moodiness to this novel set in rural England. Tom Jeffery, the scion of a wealthy farm family, falls in love with and marries Rosie Perkins, a local barmaid. A silent but generous man, Tom is completely oblivious to Rosie's mercurial nature. Thrust from the bawdy atmosphere of her father's pub into the company of Tom's family, devoutly religious nonconformists, she seduces Tom's youngest brother out of boredom and, knowingly or not, leads him to his death. After this, nothing goes right. Tom is paralyzed in WW I and becomes embittered and crazed; one of his spinster sisters has a destructive relationship with Rosie's father. Finally, only Rosie is leftthe farm having been lostto decide her own fate. Bates ( Catherine Foster ) leaves many chronological gaps in his storytelling, but he's caught the desolateness and rhythms of rural life and the strict moral code of an earlier generation. (Feb.)
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