20/11/2004

Maulever Hall (by Jane Aiken Hodge)

I'm not entirely sure what it is about Jane Aiken Hodge's books that appeal to me, since they mostly seem to be thrillers, and that's not a genre I tend to like. They're also, usually, light romances and are always character-driven, so that helps. A few of them are historical, as well. Besides that, the suspense is never too scary, and the endings are usually happy. Unfortunately, they're mostly now out of print, though they can often be found second-hand.

I hadn't read - or heard of - Maulever Hall when I found it in a charity shop for a few pence. It's the story of Marianne, travelling on a stagecoach with a small boy called Thomas. She has totally lost her memory after a crash. She is pretty sure that Thomas is not her son, and the passengers know where she is to be set down.

However, when they alight, nobody comes to meet them, and Marianne finds that she has no purse. So she and Thomas walk to the nearest village, and ask for help from the minister. He is about to throw her out as a vagabond when an elderly lady, who says she is the mistress of Maulever Hall, takes her in.

There is, as ever with this author, quite significant suspense in this fast-paced book as Marianne struggles to regain her memory, falls in love, distrusts one of the servants, and takes part in a dramatic and exciting climax before the final, and highly satisfactory, inevitable resolution.

Recommended.

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