An intelligent, quality saga on the glamour, scandal and hypocrisy of the Scottish aristocracy which will appeal to readers of Rosamunde Pilcher and Penny Vincenzi. Glamorous, rich and rife with secret scandal, the clannish Macarthur family, rarely out of the glossy pages of every high society magazine, reigns over Edinburgh's wealthy New Town. However, as the formidable family patriarch, Jack Macarthur, lies on his deathbed in the Edinburgh family seat, it emerges that one of the clan has broken the strict code of silence that has been crucial to their respectability...And as the stories of mistresses, illegitimate children, homosexuality and sadomasochism break in the press, the family struggles to lead its life in the public eye...While in the heart of the storm, the beautiful Marianne Maclean, broken down by a destructive affair with Luke Macarthur; and his handsome cousin Ben Macarthur, once unconfident but now strengthened by adversity -- and the only man Marianne had ever loved -- find themselves swept up in the tide together...Deliciously scandalous, intelligent and compulsively page-turning, this quality saga will delight readers of Rosamunde Pilcher and Penny Vincenzi.
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Julia Hamilton was brought up in Scotland and now lives in London with her two daughters. Her previous novels include Other People's Rules.From Publishers Weekly:
Like her first novel, Other People's Rules, Hamilton's sophomore effort exposes the perverse private lives of a seemingly wholesome, elite Edinburgh family. Patriarch Jack Macarthur is on his deathbed when a nosy reporter threatens to reveal family secrets. Jack has been supporting a mistress and illegitimate daughter for 16 years. His older son, Duncan, a golden boy who helps him run his publishing company, habitually makes the rounds of the gay club circuit, even though he's supposed to be settled down with his devoted partner, Charles. Jack's nephew Luke has a predilection for s&m. The crisis forces the younger son, Ben, to replace his father as head of the family. Ben is divorced, unable to settle down with girlfriend Marianne and changes careers more often than he changes his socks. Yet with the family's dirty laundry about to be put on display, Ben is the Macarthurs' best chance for salvaging their dignity. With no chapter breaks, too many back stories about irrelevant branches of the family and no dominating point of view, the novel is fragmented. The women in the book are particularly two-dimensional (the submissive mistress; the stuffy, repressed matriarch; etc.), and Hamilton tends to rely on pat descriptions ("Duncan was... a financial whiz kid, and the apple of their father's eye"). As long as readers don't expect too much subtlety, they may find the family's dramatic saga, full of random acts of violence and tragedy, to be luridly absorbing.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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