The Hawthorne Heritage

Teresa Crane, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (507p) ISBN 978-0-312-02582-3
Although impressively bulky, and portentously set in England during and after the Napoleonic wars, this historical novel by the author of Sweet Songbird skips lightly over the epoch-making events. Instead, it spotlights the Hawthorneshandsome, rich and horsey, with the exception of young Jessica, who is neither as elegant nor as conformist as the rest of them. Jessica is still a child when her beautiful older sister is made pregnant by Danny O'Donnel, a sculptor born in Italy, who is restoring the local church. Their father sets out to kill Danny, but Jessica warns him, and he escapes to Florence, leaving her with a love she is too young to recognize. Some years later, Jessica marries her childhood friend and neighbor Robert FitzBolton, despite his confession that he cannot bear to be touched by a woman. They set off for Florence, where Robert pursues his musical studiesand a young composerand Jessica searches for Danny. Pedestrian in style and characterization, the book may nonetheless provide a pleasant winter's night companion, particularly because of Jessica's refreshing lack of sexual snobbery. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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