'Love Among the Daughters' by Maureen Osborne
to Contents Page
from Biblical Solomon, "As the lily among thorns, so
is my love among the daughters", the title hints at a
feminist approach. But this rich blend of early 19th Century
romance, escapades and drama is not unsuitable for either
exchange, from rural England to Russian landscapes, somewhat
in yo-yo fashion. From, for example, Ekaterinburg to the Tsarist
Siberian 'gulag'. Yet, apart from a Russian holiday, taken
during an altering political scenario (in the wake of Boris
Pasternak & others), the author has little Russian background.
She makes up for this by intense research/studies. Whilst
not aspiring to plumbing the depths of the Russian soul, a
la Dostoyevski or Tolstoy, her achievement is quite remarkable.
irksome - drab chapter headings, e.g. 'Russia 1801', 'England 1802',
then (again!) 'Russia 1801' etc. We can overlook this, in a fascinating
story with numerous British-Russian links, historical and others,
with personalities full of character. An aptly named dwelling, 'Starcross
House' had seen some sad, starcrossed, lovers. It seemed 'haunted'
by several, less than pleasant, persons, a Baba Yarish, witch-like
Mistress Wardell or young Edgar, who, incestuously, rapes his own
sister, Julie, one of the story's heroines. As for the follow-up.....you'll
have to read about it, yourselves! Despite, frequently, a pervading
sinister and menacing mood, the prevailing forces of light and goodness
are not inactive!
Maureen Osborne, accomplished
author, playwright & teacher, as well as professional speaker,
has also written, extensively, for the BBC, including a play about
Lenin. To her, Russia is "beautiful, mysterious and vast".
Her sense of nocturnal mystery is reflected, possibly, in having
written 'Daughters' mostly at night. Little surprise that her publishing
firm, nowadays, is called 'Night Owl Press'.
Did I enjoy Maureen's
'tale of cruelty and courage'? In answer, I'm already, eagerly queuing
up for the promised sequel - covering 'Part II' of the 19th Century.
But that, as they say, will be another story!
the Daughters' by Maureen Osborne is available from The Night Owl
5 Birchwood Road, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6DW. Tel: 01932 345419.
Price £6.99 plus £1.50 postage and packing.
to Contents Page