16/04/2001

The Old Enchantment (by Sarah Neilan)

I hadn't heard of Sarah Neilan, and I can't find any web sites about her to link to. But this looked like my kind of book, with pastel colours and interesting blurb on the back.

The novel opens with middle-aged Elizabeth arriving in Toronto, to meet people who may be her only living relatives. After a short meeting, the story flashes back fifty years, to little Lizzie, aged six, staying with her exciting cousins in their glamorous home.

In this house, Lizzie learns about class prejudice, and the privileges of being wealthy; she also enjoys normal, everyday family life.

From that point, the main story is in the past, with occasional brief episodes in the future, cleverly revealing a little more of Elizabeth's motives for being in Toronto. Eventually the past reaches the present, and the final chapters lead to a happy and satisfying conclusion.

A nice novel, although I'm not sure I'll read it again. Recommended as light holiday reading.

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