Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gerald And Elizabeth by D. E. Stevenson

245 pages
Published 1969 by Holt, Rinehart & Winston
New York NY

As most of you know by now, I have been a fan of D. E. Stevenson novels for a couple years now. My introduction was was in the fall of 2009 when a friend sent me the link to a delightful book titled, Miss Buncle's Book. From the moment I picked up Miss Buncle and began reading I became a life-long fan of Ms. Stevenson and now I look forward to each new title I discover, pick up and read.

Thanks to Hope at Worthwhile Books, who passed on to me a ex-library copy of Gerald and Elizabeth earlier this year, I had the chance to read another delightful tale by one of my favorite authors.

The Plot:
Gerald Brown is young, good-looking, personable, but he holds himself aloof from the other passengers aboard the Ariadne, a small passenger ship returning to London from Cape Town, South Africa. In fact, his behavior is so extremely antisocial that he appears on deck only late at night, rarely venturing from his cabin during the day. Something is troubling him deeply, something that happened while he was working as an engineer in a Cape Town diamond mine that has left him spent and hopeless.

After the Ariadne docks in London, Gerald, desperately in need of a job, decides to contact his sister, the beautiful and famous actress, Elizabeth Burleigh, whose current play is the hit of the London theater season. As he reveals to her his haunting past in South Africa, he learns that she too is suffering, that behind her facade of gaiety and sophistication lurks a nagging suspicion about her mental health that is threatening to destroy her career and her love affair as well.

What are the forces that seem bent on these destroying these young people who have so much to live for? Can the mysteries surrounding their lives be solved -- and in time to prevent irreversible consequences? (Summary courtesy of the book dust jacket.)

My thoughts:
I must admit in spite of reading this jacket summary I was still surprised by Gerald and Elizabeth. I expected from the summary that I knew exactly how the story would turn out... and to a degree I did -- it had a happy ending -- but at the same time there was still plenty of surprises within this story and as a result I really did enjoy the read. It was a light and charming read with a touch of mystery and wit that kept me intrigued up to the end.

That said, I can't say that Gerald and Elizabeth was one of D. E. Stevenson's best works. It was enjoyable, but not a masterpiece. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't quite as good as some of her other books (i.e. Blue Sapphire, Mrs. Tim, Miss Buncle's Book, etc.). Nevertheless, a good Stevenson novel is still a worthwhile read and I recommend it to anyone looking for something new and different to read, particularly fans of Stevenson's novels.

Related Links:

Happy Birthday D. E. Stevenson
Other D. E. Stevenson books reviewed

Biography - Wikipedia
All Things D. E. Stevenson

1 comment:

Nan said...

If I had to say which was my favorite, I think it might be Five Windows. This is what I jotted down a few years back:

"This was what I call a "plain good book". It is "about" a very decent, good man, and the five places he has lived in his life. Each chapter of his life is a window view, starting with childhood and ending with his adult house. Some are pleasant, some are ugly views, but with each one he grows, yet keeps his basic kindness and optimistic outlook."

But then again, can I really say a favorite? I so loved Celia's House, and Vittoria Cottage, and some of the Mrs. Tim books. She is a wonderful, wonderful author who makes the reader feel good about life, don't you think?