The Fountain of Delight

Anne Weale, Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (457p) ISBN 978-0-312-05090-0
No fountain splashes in this overwritten, unrealistic second book about the English Longwarden estate and its inhabitants, sequel to All My Worldly Goods. Some half-dozen subplots, each concerning a couple's relationship--beginning, in full swing or in decline--drown the reader in details and obscure the main plot. On the long list of characters are the count and countess of Carlyon, new owners and restorers of Longwarden, and their extended family. The plan for renovating the establishment includes importing specialists from London to live-in: a garden planner, an architect, a French chef, a secretary--in addition to the local villagers who work in the manor house and grounds. Everyone in this overly class-conscious story is a perfect specimen of his or her social caste. Enumerations of the house furnishings, the renovation process and the progress of every relationship, whether casual or serious, slow the pace of the book to a crawl. The mystery of an arsonist in the area--who may be a good guy gone bad--doesn't much affect either characters or action, and is resolved predictably and painlessly. After an inordinate amount of time and ink is spent, each subplot concludes happily--no surprise to the benumbed reader. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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