10/06/2003

The Vivian Inheritance (by Jean Stubbs)

I can't really find anything about Jean Stubbs on the Internet, although she's a fairly prolific writer. I've read a few of her books, and mostly enjoyed them. They're historical novels, set mostly in the 19th or early 20th century, and while they're somewhat more realistic than I'm entirely comfortable with, the characters tend to be very well drawn.

'The Vivian Inheritance' is set in the early 19th century. Alongside the first steam trains introduced in the UK, it features the Howarth family. William is the ironmaster, and has many children, nieces and nephews.

Hal Vivian is a consultant engineer - a visionary, who soon becomes deeply involved in all the Howarth family's lives.

The people shine through as individuals, and despite a potentially dull setting (from my perspective), the story was very interesting as the writing was so good. There were several well-intertwined subplots to this book, and plenty of surprises to keep it moving along well.

Recommended. Not in print any more, but fairly widely available second-hand.

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