This is the most moving of the Sara Seale novels I have read so far. There’s a bereavement in it, and it is very poignantly and movingly described.
The heroine is 18-year-old Morgan, who really suffers and struggles in this book.
The hero is 36-year-old Carey Lord, who’s actually really nice – if insufferably stupid about his cousin’s widow, the Evil Sally. Women rarely come as patently, obviously duplicitous as Sally – “she gave a little trill of laughter” – but it takes until about six pages before the end for Carey to finally realise it.
The names here, both being rather unisex, can make for mild confusion. Carey seems a very odd name to choose for a British hero in 1952. Sure, there’s Cary Grant, but his real name was Archibald. Somehow it just seems very American here, and rather feminine. I kept having to remind myself that “Morgan is not the man”.
There’s the usual silly Sara Seale trope of a working class friend who becomes a suddenly aggressive suitor. All these suitors are much younger and of a more suitable age for romance, and usually very good looking, yet the heroine has never remotely considered them in a romantic or attractive light. This is never very plausible.
Unusually, there’s a rather heart-warming subplot of a “mature romance” which was a nice addition. All in all, a bit more love development between Carey and Morgan would have been good (but that’s the problem with all of Sara Seale’s age-gap stories, there’s never any passion and nothing properly declared until literally the last two pages). I was also left thinking that it might have made a more interesting story if Sally had been a more sympathetic character rather than a pantomime villain.