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Image of The New Countess (Habits of the House)


Image of The New Countess (Habits of the House)

Weldon knows her subject and era well, and this last book in her trilogy is perhaps the best. As the family prepares for a royal visit, readers are drawn into the detailed preparations — making for a brightly colored, fascinating backdrop. No less interesting are the characters who have become family to Weldon’s fans because of their flaws, foibles and realistic actions and emotions. The world is changing, and Weldon brings us along for the ride.

The Dilberne household is in an uproar preparing for King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra’s visit. Even more important is the grooming of the new heir, James, son of Arthur and his Chicago heiress wife Minnie. Lady Isobel wants the child raised to British standards — in conflict with his American grandmother. Amidst the conflict, Adela, the prodigal niece, returns and causes havoc by claiming the house is cursed. The servants fear the worst and the plans for the King’s stay are jeopardized. But it’s the Dibernes’ shaky finances that are the cause for real concern. (ST. MARTIN’S, Dec., 336 pp., $25.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin