Josh Lawton

Melvyn Bragg, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-340-42329-5
Set among the bare crags of England's Cumbria, an area peopled by farmers without ambition or prospect, this tragic novel foretells doom from the beginning. Innocent Josh Lawton meets Maureen Telfordan exotic young woman from a tougher, livelier townat a dance, and falls instantly in love, ignoring the gossip about her and her family's violence and depravity. When Maureen becomes pregnant they marry and rent a cottage, where Josh tends their daughter, and is content. But Maureen grows increasingly restless, eventually succumbing to her passion for an old beau, an act that precipitates tragedy. The novel's strength lies in the protagonists' Hardyesque struggle to triumph over ordained disaster. Elegantly written by an author ( The Maid of Buttermere) steeped in his landscape and the mores of his characters, this subtly powerful novel should add to Bragg's rising reputation here. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Paperback - 205 pages - 978-0-340-49480-6
Hardcover - 193 pages - 978-0-436-06708-2
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