Harnessing Peacocks

Mary Wesley, Author Scribner Book Company $16.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-18637-5
So disarming is this novel by the author of The Camomile Lawn, that its spoof of a plot and its spiral of coincidence don't matter a bit. It concerns Hebe Rutter (Hebe, messenger of the gods, the peacock-harnesser of the title), chef extraordinaire and founder and sole member of the Syndicate, an exclusive club patronized by rich young men enamored of Hebe and her sexual gifts. A laid-back beauty of impeccable lineage, Hebe supports her 12-year-old son Silas, father unknown, by replacing full-time cooks when they are on vacation from the English country houses where they are employed. Thus she meets and ensnares the young sons of the household, sometimes married, often her collateral relatives, since her familywhich quite literally showed her the door when she turned up pregnantis connected to almost everyone of social stature for miles around. One of Hebe's part-time employers inadvertently becomes part of the unspoken plot to legitimize Silas. The boy's father keeps Hebe and the reader waiting while suspense mounts, but, happily for these beguiling characters, everything comes right in the end. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Paperback - 373 pages - 978-0-8161-7490-4
Paperback - 263 pages - 978-0-552-99210-7
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-552-77261-7
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