India Fan

Victoria Holt, Author
Victoria Holt, Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (404p) ISBN 978-0-385-24600-2
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
Although hobbled by the flat, toneless voice of its narrator, this latest romance from Holt ( The Silk Vendetta ) manages to convey the class restrictions of Victorian England and its then-colony, India. The protagonist, Drusilla Delaney, the vicar's plain but intelligent daughter, grows up in thrall to the wealthy Framling family, whose estate is run by domineering Lady Harriet. In arranging the lives of her two indulged childrenLavinia, a vampish beauty, and Fabian, the son born to ruleLady Harriet sees to it that Drusilla, ``such a sensible girl,'' is always available as a functionary and check on Lavinia. To evade a marriage of convenience, Drusilla joins Lavinia and her husband at a luxurious British outpost in India, where she serves as tutor to Lavinia's children and where her nascent love for Fabian is acknowledged. The Indian mutiny and the decisive battle of Lucknow provide heroic opportunities for Drusilla and Fabian, and their Indian friends, as they engineer their escape to England after a bloodletting that engulfs the foolish Lavinia. Holt has a surer hand with the colorful locale of India than with the stock figures she deploys there. (August)
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