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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

An Oldie but a Goodie

 My library has been conducting book suggestions for the year.  This month's was a doozy!  I am to read a book written in the year I was born!!  My library had ONE, on its shelves.  That one is The King's General by Daphne Du Maurier.  

The King's General is a historical novel, based on true characters and events.  The romance isn't real.  But the setting, the war, the people, are true.  The story begins with Honor Harris celebrating her 18th birthday.  Coincidently, Lord Buckingham arrives and comes to the manse.  Honor tries to curtsy to him and gets stuck.  Everyone laughs.  Richard Grenvile helps her.  He takes her aside and teaches her to curtsy.  He also gets her drunk.  Honor throws up, but he is not disgusted; on the contrary, he's amused.  He really is quite a knave.  Richard is much older than she is and his experience wins her over.  Honor's family is appalled and forbids their courting.

The family has arranged a marriage for Honor.  She runs away.  She goes to Richard and lives with him.  On a hunt, the group is chasing prey when Honor gets into a horrible accident and is crippled for life.  She thinks her life is over and sends Richard away.

This is a time of the English Civil War, in the seventeenth century.  About 15 years have gone by, since Honor's accident.  She's managing quite well.  She is still as beautiful as she was when she was 18 and gets around on a wheelchair.  Her home has been wrecked by the war and she is currently living with the Rashleighs.  

Meanwhile, Richard has married and divorced.  So, he's a free-wheeling bachelor. He's fighting on the King's side, hence, the title.  They meet again and take off where they left off.

BTW, Honor has to change residences, quite a few times.  Du Maurier crafts suspense into these old English residences.  There are secret passages, locked rooms, creaky floorboards, and ghostly sounds.  

Eventually, the war ends.  Du Maurier ties up the story and the Postscript explains the historical background and what happens to the characters.

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