Anna Dillon, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (587p) ISBN 978-0-312-02978-4
This ambitious but pedestrian historical novel comes to a climax in the tumultuous Easter Rising of 1916, the famously mismanaged revolution enacted in Dublin with tragicomic overtones. Studded with historical names (Yeats, Casement, et al . ) and with details culled from actual interchanges with survivors, the story begins with the not entirely unrequited seduction of Katherine Lundy by her employer, Captain Lewis, an English officer with shadowy connections. When the pregnant Katherine is dismissed by her employer's wife, she is befriended by notorious brothel mistress Bella Cohen, and eventually becomes her successor. As ``Madam Kitten,'' Kather ine is virtual arbiter of Dublin's nighttown, her well-appointed house an oasis of gentility frequented by the ruling class, as well as a sanctuary for her and her son. Disruption surfaces with the reappearance of Katherine's first love, Dermot Corcoran, an idealistic journalist committed to the cause of the Irish Brotherhood. After their marriage, Katherine, determinedly apolitical and pragmatic, attempts to save her husband's life in an abortive alliance with her old nemesis, the English captain. Except for Katherine, who grows from naive servant girl to self-confident woman with a piquantly illicit trade, the characters are one-note, and the cadence of the ill-fated rebellion is muted. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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