To Hear a Nightingale

Charlotte Bingham, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (498p) ISBN 978-0-312-02991-3
The anguish inflicted on a child by a sadistic relative, and the excitement of high-stakes horse racing, are the main themes in this compelling novel by the British author of numerous TV plays (including Upstairs, Downstairs ). Raised by her diabolically cruel grandmother in New Hampshire during the 1940s, well-behaved orphan Cassie McGann endures beatings, insults and a generally miserable existence. A kindly neighbor's home provides occasional refuge, but the girl can evade Grandmother's malice only briefly; the spiteful old woman sends her to a snobbish private school in West Virginia, where spoiled, narcissistic Leonora Von Wagner becomes Cassie's new classmate and tormentor. Victimization fails to destroy Cassie's courage, however, and she finds fulfillment years later by marrying horse trainer Tyrone Rosse. At their sprawling farm in Ireland, the Rosses struggle to train winners in thoroughbred racing, while the indefatigable Leonora labors to thwart them. Effective ly conveying her characters' triumphs and heartbreaks, Bingham excels in her portrayal of Cassie's venomous grandmother and in stunning, climactic scenes at the Epsom Derby. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-8041-0627-6
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