| A stylish psychological novel that deals with
love, hate, rape and murder. Deep and accurate characterisation,
lots of action, superb.
| Philippa and Verity are friends of contrasting
temperaments, whose families have little in common, except that
each has an episode in the past, which will come to light and
dramatically affect both girls.
Philippa is the daughter of a farmer. Verity's parents are a schoolmaster and an artist, newcomers to the hamlet, who remain outsiders in the eyes of the small community.
Every summer, Joe comes to stay in a caravan in one of his uncle's fields. He and Verity's brother, Digby, are rivals from their earliest encounter, first for attention of the girls and then for Philippa's love. Philippa has a difficult choice to make between Joe, who is universally considered suitable, and Digby, who is not.
Anne Marshall, Verity's mother, has one person in Pelbury who is devoted to her, a mentally-handicapped young woman called Stephanie. It is Stephanie who unwittingly helps Philippa to make her choice, but only after Pelbury is shaken by an act of violence.
| Who is the Author?
Barbara Masterton was born and educated in Weymouth (Dorset,
England) and later attended Poole College of Art. She was
married at twenty to an accountant. Now retired, her husband
is a former City Treasurer of Newcastle. She has five
children, four of them married and the youngest still
studying. Whilst they were young she wrote novels for her own
interest, as a form of escapism, keeping her work under the
bed in a wooden box known as "Mum's Coffin". When at the age
of forty one, her fifth child arrived, she tore up all her
manuscripts, believing she would never have another
opportunity to write, but with time she was able to start
again and her first novel, Island of Glass, appeared
in 1986. Mrs Milsent's Daughter was her most recent
book to be published.
| Philippa was not exciting, like some of the
girls he took out at the university, but there was something
about her that he had always found intriguing, it was as if she
knew more about herself than she would ever reveal and it was
that concealed part of her that he longed to know. His mother
had sensed that enigmatic core in Philippa and had tried to
defeat it in her picture. She did not want him to love Philippa
and he did not think he ever would. She was his sister's friend
and he was fond of her. It is difficult not to be fond of
someone who approves of you, especially if she is pretty and
constantly about your home. Philippa's admiration had always
boosted his confidence. The idea of having her portrait on his
bedroom wall, gazing down upon him during his moments of
solitude and self-doubt with eyes full of trust had coincided
with his mother's wish to paint him a picture for his birthday.
She had not been pleased with his choice of subject and he had
been dismayed at the result. There had been no hint of the girl
who loved him in the portrait, her eyes had been
uncharacteristically dull, as if she had been robbed of her most
cherished hopes. Digby, who shared with his father an uncritical
devotion for Anne, had not been able to praise her latest work
and had been as thankful as Philippa when Stephanie destroyed
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