Under the House

Leslie Hall Pinder, Author Random House (NY) $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-394-56932-1
This accomplished first novel by a Canadian lawyer was well received in the author's home country and England. Her tale of a respected Saskatchewan family centers on a dark secret, tantalizingly withheld until the last pages, that distorts the lives of one generation and threatens those in the next. S. D. Rathbone was an old-fashioned patriarch, inspiring overweening pride in his son Stanley. Another son, Clarence, is less assertive. An older daughter, Isabel, flees to Vancouver as a teenager, while Maude, the youngest and meekest, stays at home until she marries. Stanley weds a woman whose spirited illegitimate daughter revives old anxieties in the family. When S. D. dies, the girl runs away with Maude and precipitates a court case in which Stanley, motivated by greed, declares his belief that Maude is the daughter of Clarence and Isabel. Yet the subject of this sometimes rambling narrative is less the question of Maude's parentage than an examination of the effects on family members of years of ignorance, guilt and festering accusation. Intense and compassionate, Pinder's story skirts sensationalism by focusing on character. It is a powerful tale. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-0-7475-0065-0
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