Kindred Spirits

June Barraclough, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-312-02597-7
Chronicler of nascent feminism among 19th century English gentlewomen ( Rook's Nest , The Heart of the Rose ), Baraclough here presents another doughty heroine of that time. After her father's death, Jane Banham leaves her village to live in London. She enters eagerly into the bustle and intrigue of the city, and writes her impressions for a newly launched journal, where she meets writers and artists, among them the dashing poet Charles Fitzpercy. Charles is a bastardthe ``Fitz'' in his surname signifying the illegitimate issue of royaltywith a dark history and a habit of disappearing from London and returning sick and penniless. Although Jane guards her independence and sees no wrong in sexual congress unsanctified by marriage, she longs for Charles, although she knows they cannot marry. In the meantime, she is not without admirers, chief among them literary patron Frederick Digby. Before the situation is resolved, readers are introduced to scores of undifferentiated characters and must endure long, repetitive interior monologues. The book is dead earnest and totally humorless, but Jane herself excites sympathy and understanding. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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