Enchanted Ground

Sarah Woodhouse, Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (340p) ISBN 978-0-312-09795-0
The fifth novel from Woodhouse ( The Native Air ) takes place in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and traces the lives of three women of successive generations in the Bretton family. Harriet, her daughter-in-law Deborah and Deborah's daughter Patricia must cope with the debts, crises and dwindling fortunes of the passive, unambitious Bretton men, heirs to a huge ancestral estate. In the 1920s, ``Paddy,'' age 40 and unmarried, tries to maintain the estate with few remaining servants while caring for her father in a small estate house, the Lodge. Desperate for funds, she rents the crumbling, yet still majestic, Bretton Hall to Hugh and Laura Haley and their nine-year-old daughter Etta, who ``hears'' ghosts. In clumsy flashbacks, Harriet and Deborah's generations are shown feuding with the local Chance family in events that will reverberate in Paddy's life. After their father's death, Paddy's brother Tom decides to sell the estate and a dramatic revelation challenges her right to remain. A mystery is solved by Etta and the ghosts reveal surprising news about Paddy. Less minutiae and fewer plot convolutions would have saved the reader from much confusion. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1993
Release date: 11/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 608 pages - 978-0-7089-3214-8
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