Wintercombe

Pamela Belle, Author St. Martin's Press $24.95 (528p) ISBN 978-0-312-02320-1
The year is 1644, and the Puritan Parliament has taken up arms against King Charles I. Wintercombe, a magnificent estate in the Wiltshire village of Norton St. Philip, lies defenseless now that its Puritan lord of the manor, Sir George St. Barbe, has marched off to lead a regiment of Roundheads in battle against the king's army. His young and capable wife, Silence, is left to manage both her family and all of Wintercombe. A Royalist garrison commandeers the house as headquarters, but Silence elects to stay on in order to protect the property and its workers from harmdespite the peril likely to befall her children and herself; these soldiers are not gentlemen. When a handsome Cavalier officer housed under her roof unexpectedly comes to her defense against his monstrous superior officer, romance blossoms. He is, of course, doomed from the start. All this could be rendered in cliches typical of the historical romance novel, but Belle's skill allows her to soar above the genre. Her research is thorough, and despite an occasional lapse into unlikely speech patterns, the period details are authentic without being cumbersome. With rich language that evokes 17th century daily life, and fully involving characters, Belle ( The Moon in Water ) tells an engrossing story. (Nov . )
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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