A Season of Lamplight

Trefor Vaughan, Author Tabb House (UK) $24.95 (222p) ISBN 978-0-907018-80-3
Despite an occasionally overbearing, didactic tone, British psychologist Vaughan makes an auspicious debut with an intriguing and moving story set in Northern Ireland's County Down. In 1939, as WW II looms, eight-year-old Arthur is sent from London by his parents to the safety of the Irish countryside, to a farm presided over by his middle-aged cousins. His loneliness is somewhat assuaged by Mary, the Catholic housemaid who lavishes motherly attention on him. But Mary has a secret: her lover, a fugitive from an IRA faction seeking to punish him for a theft and murder, has taken refuge with her. Arthur is drawn into the plot to protect Sean, despite his jealousy and his understanding that Sean will take Mary away from him. While the issues, and some of the characters, are reminiscent of L. P. Hartley's The Go-Between , the character of Arthur is drawn with a particularly sensitive hand. But the motives for various other characters are opaque, and some of these figures are two-dimensional. The tone and setting, however, are just right, and there are moments when Vaughan can lose himself in his writing in the best sense, shedding the self-consciousness that limits some passages here. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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