An Innocent Woman

Malcolm MacDonald, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (378p) ISBN 978-0-312-05448-9
A young British heiress comes of age in this carefully wrought novel of character, set in the late 1850s. Shortly after the death of her mother, Jane Hervey and her well-to-do father move from York to the village of Breage in Cornwall, where her father arranges for an officious matron to take Jane under her wing. Outwardly demure and correct, Jane shows intelligence and a streak of independence when she refuses to sign a legal document without reading it. Soon after she commits another act of defiance, Mr. Hervey dies of a heart attack, leaving a guilt-stricken and very wealthy orphan, who is also burdened by a secret in her past. (She had spent her childhood in Paris with her mother and has no memory of her father before she was 12.) Now pursued by suitors, Jane is torn between two men--the mysterious Daniel Jago, possibly a smuggler, whose life she saves, and lawyer Vosper Scawen, the only man who does not treat her like a child. A return to the house of her Parisian childhood sets Jane firmly on the path of her future and changes life dramatically for her companions. Ross ( A Notorious Woman ) pens a delicate, almost dreamy, tale of a woman who is determined to find her own way while still maintaining an accepted place in a society that keeps ``respectable'' women under a tight rein. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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