The Silver Highways

Malcolm MacDonald, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (495p) ISBN 978-0-312-00680-8
This exuberant saga set in 18th century England begins when 20-year-old Mary Flinders, an innocent, plucky, clever lass born into impoverished Irish gentry, receives five guineas from a supposed suitor to finance her trip to London. With her friend and mentor, the shrewd and indomitable Delcan Moore, she begins a journey that introduces her to a steady stream of 18th century rogues who try her endurance, intellect and virtue. When Mary meets Matt Sullivan, an uneducated but brilliant young inventor, we know that the two lovers will make their fortune together. Mary is still determined to take London society by storm, however; utilizing her one letter of introduction and her considerable charm, she meets and enchants assorted colonels, lords and dukes, all of whom eventually become involved in Mary and Matt's plans to further England's prosperity and their own by way of canal shipping. (One of the book's highlights is its account of Matt's contributions to the building of England's canal system and the expansion of 18th century commerce). Macdonald (Abigail has written a vigorous tale that captures the raw vitality of the era; it's marred only by a convoluted and illogical conclusion. (May 18)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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