zaterdag 2 oktober 2010

Barbara Cartland – The Blue-eyed Witch

The blue-eyed witch

There was no question that the Marquis of Aldridge had saved her life. The townspeople were convinced she was a witch. They were dragging her to the river to administer the ultimate test. If she drowned, she was innocent. If she floated, she was evil.

Fortunately, the Marquis was able to convince the angry mob to release her. He was sure she was for too lovely, far too innocent to be a witch. And yet this raven-haired, blue-eyed beauty was casting a spell on him – bewitching him as no other woman had done before.

This little gem was written in 1976, and as Barbara Cartland started writing romances in 1925, it is safe to say, it was one of her later books. She died in the year 2000, but has written tons of books up until that date. Her books keep being published, even now new ones appear.

Tired of life in London, the love problems of the Prince of Wales, and the pursuit of a lady he no longer is interested in, the Marquis of Aldridge decides to go to one if his houses he hasn’t been to in a long while. He was happy there as a boy, and as there are some problems, he feels it a good idea to investigate them himself. Almost at the Castle, he finds a mob of villagers manhandling a young girl. Convinced she is a witch, as she is found unconscious at the Druid Stones, with a beheaded young rooster in her lap, the villagers want to duck her in the village pond.

But the Marquis notices her clothes, which are a certain quality, and her hands are small and clean. She could not have beheaded that chicken with her bare hands! So he takes her with him to Ridge Castle. His old nurse is still residing there, and she takes good care of Idylla. Due to a big blow to her head, which should have killed her, she has lost her memory.

The Marquis is determined to find out who she is. And who wants her dead. Especially when two villains try to abduct her from her bedroom in the Castle!

He soon suspects his neighbour, a man he loathed ever since they were boys. He was great friends with his brother John, who died 10 years ago in a suspicious swimming accident. But this Sir Caspar is a good for nothing gambler, sacking his staff without a proper pension, selling everything inside the mansion so he can go back to London to gamble some more.

I enjoyed reading this book again, so the plot was not that much of a surprise for me. And the hero was during the whole book: the Marquis. His first name, Oswald, is only mentioned one time by his old nurse. The heroines are always young, innocent, small and delicate, which could use a change in my humble opinion. But Barbara Cartland was read by millions, and I still love her books.

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