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The Quondam Wives Mairi MacInnes

The Quondam Wives

Mairi MacInnes

Published February 1st 1993
ISBN : 9780807118108
Hardcover
128 pages
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 About the Book 

At the heart of this spellbinding novel set in rural England resides a triumvirate of unforgettable characters: eighty-year-old Anthony Quondam, stubborn, profligate, irascible, vain - every inch the aristocrat- his much younger wife, Esme, mercurialMoreAt the heart of this spellbinding novel set in rural England resides a triumvirate of unforgettable characters: eighty-year-old Anthony Quondam, stubborn, profligate, irascible, vain - every inch the aristocrat- his much younger wife, Esme, mercurial and beguiling- and his former wife, Alice, now a successful New York businesswoman. Arriving in Yorkshire to visit her daughters, Gwen and Reggie, Alice soon finds the world she remembers - the pastoral world of grace and beauty and tradition - changing before her eyes. Anthonys stewardship of the ancestral home, Quondam Hall, has never been farsighted- now, however, in response to the transparent flattery of his second wife, he commits a truly monumental blunder - relinquishing control of the hall and its surrounding lands to his three daughters. Then, finding his favorite daughter Delias professions of love insufficiently fulsome, he evicts her from the hall. The rapacious Gwen and Reggie, undeterred by their appalled mother, claim all for themselves, believing they have hitherto been stinted. They move in well before Anthony and Esme are prepared to leave. As Anthony endures humiliation after petty humiliation, the elder daughters reveal their plan for Quondam Hall: They will renovate the estate - but as a tourist attraction, complete with restaurants and gift shops. To fund the renovation they propose a scheme that will surely disrupt, and perhaps change forever, the lives of the neighboring villagers- it will also lay waste the surrounding countryside with its hills, ancient stone bridges, and farmlands dating back to pre-Roman antiquity. Dispossessed and driven to find out his very essence, Anthony fights for survival, and we witness his struggle from the varying perspectives of Anthony himself, Esme, Alice, the villagers, the grasping daughters, and of course Delia, now living in a trailer park managed by an engaging dropout. With keen psychological insight, snapping dialogue, a painters eye for color and