Dark Angel

Sally Beauman, Author Bantam Books $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-05762-1
Beauman's eagerly awaited second novel, not so fiery and beguiling as her bestselling Destiny , seeks to deal thoughtfully with the entwined issues of social class and the kind of exploitative, even perverse sexuality that can invade and destroy a family. What weakens this ambitious, potentially gripping scheme is the author's tendency to write of decadence in repetitive and fatiguing prose. Spanning the period from 1910 to the '80s, the narrative moves between Winterscombe, the English country manor where the fashionable gather for shooting and ``leisured adultery,'' and the New York City/Hamptons scene of aging eccentric gays, aesthetes and interior decorators. In 1968 Victoria Cavendish, 38, learns from a Hindu seer that she must choose between two women--her long-dead mother, Jane, a WW I nurse in France, and Constance, her seductively dangerous godmother, who wormed her way into the family and used her marriage to powerful financier Montague Stern to undermine it. Both women had vied for the love of Victoria's father, Acland. Both were at Winterscombe when Constance's promiscuous father, Shawcross, died horribly mangled in a mantrap--an illegal device to stop poachers. In search of her family's past, Victoria reads tattered old journals that yield dark secrets--incest, fornication, betrayal, suicide, possibly murder--meanwhile coming to grips with ``deadly'' Constance. Although she herself is curiously passive and listless, Victoria's own love story gathers gradual momentum, despite Constance's opposition, when she rediscovers her childhood sweetheart. 200,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild main selection. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
Mass Market Paperbound
Paperback - 912 pages - 978-0-7515-3465-8
Ebook - 800 pages - 978-1-4804-4474-4
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