Lights Along the Shore

Diane Austell, Author Fanfare $5.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-29331-9
This tale, which opens in 1847, centers on the intelligent but impetuous Marin Gentry, daughter of a northern California rancher. Marin loves the neighboring Stuart Severance. But one evening at a party Stuart's older brother Vail, drunk and disillusioned over the loss of the woman he adores, gains temporary comfort in bedding the innocent Marin, then flees from the area. About the time Marin realizes that she is pregnant, her father suffers a stroke and her wastrel brother goes off to pan for gold. Faced with the prospect of an illegitimate child as well as with the question of who will run the ranch, Marin hits on a solution to both problems: she marries Stuart. The young couple prospers as California gains statehood and Stuart turns to politics, but storm clouds loom: the Civil War threatens to turn Marin's world upside down and, though she tries to avoid it, she still has some unfinished business with Vail. A lot happens in Austell's first novel, but the action lacks dramatic impetus and the tale is so cluttered with characters one almost needs a chart to keep them straight. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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