(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Daisy Creed, a land girl in World War II England, impetuously marries Patrick Nugent days before he is sent to France with his regiment. When she joins his family in County Waterford, she finds that the Nugent family home, like many of the old Anglo-Irish estates (and the aging aristocracy itself), has fallen into a state of decay. Its residents Patrick's grandmother, spoiled sister, and backward brother have mortgaged it to the hilt with no apparent regard for the future. Daisy carefully begins to assert her position as mistress of the house and to control expenses, eventually taking in paying guests. Her first guest is a recuperating British soldier who seduces her and then vanishes after the murder of a questionably Fascist local lord. This is yet another marvelous Anglo-Irish novel of manners by Davis-Goff (The Dower House); Daisy is a charming character, and the lush but languishing Irish landscape of the 1940s is the perfect setting for this wartime love story. A rich and satisfying read; highly recommended. Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
As cold as it is in England, where sheltered rector's daughter Daisy works as a Land Girl in the early days of World War II, it's even colder in Ireland. That's where she finds herself after a hasty marriage to Patrick Nugent, who is off to France almost as soon as the vows are exchanged. Daisy goes to live with Patrick's family--total strangers--at Dunmaine, their derelict Irish estate. She faces the prospect of spending the next several years in an alien and isolated place, waiting for the return of a husband she hardly knows. Soon, perceptive and sensible Daisy takes over the running of the household and the management of the family's insufficient funds, meanwhile coping with loneliness and navigating her way through the mysteries of Anglo-Irish culture. The end of the novel finds her, with the war not yet over, understanding that both she and Patrick will have changed but feeling surer about her future. A satisfying story told without sentimentality or melodrama but with a fine eye for detail. Mary Ellen Quinn
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Davis-Goff, author of The Dower House, a New York Times Notable Book, and Walled Gardens, a memoir, plumbs her Irish roots once more in this tale about a young English woman adjusting to new social, political and class demands when she moves to Ireland during World War II. A volunteer in England's Land Army, Daisy Creed works on a farm in Wales. Given the rare wartime occasion to meet an eligible bachelor, she quickly marries Patrick Nugent, a distant Anglo-Irish cousin of her employer. In a matter of days, Patrick is called on duty and Daisy joins Patrick's family in Ireland. Gothic touches abound; the Nugents are eccentrics, their home full of mysteries and reminders of better days. Daisy's new family includes Corisande, a spoiled beauty growing bitter as she approaches middle age without a suitor; her mild-mannered brother, Mickey, who silently puts up with all in exchange for solitude; a grandmother who may or may not be in a coma. All are residents of Dunmaine, the family's overgrown, undermanaged estate. Through Daisy's dogged questioning, Davis-Goff gets at the reasons and implications behind Ireland's WWII neutrality. Daisy's queries are answered mainly by Mickey: As soon as there were two religions, it was all over for Ireland. Up until then the conquerors and colonists became enthusiastically Irish in about five minutes. These conversational, encyclopedic passages fill in blanks for readers who don't know their Irish history, but water down the already thin story. Davis-Goff is a talented writer, however, and there is much to appreciate here in the way of elegant prose and careful characterizations. 4-city author tour. (May) Forecast: The Anglo-Irish world recently got an airing in the disappointing film version of Elizabeth Bowen's novel The Last September. The period and setting have undeniable appeal, and will help readers overlook the slow spots in Davis-Goff's otherwise well-crafted novel. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved