Blue and Distant Hills

Blue and Distant Hills

by Judith A. Saxton

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In post-WW II England a frightened young girl comes to maturity and love in this sensitive historical/fantasy by the author of First Love, Last Love. Having been stranded in Italy at the beginning of the war, Questa Adamson spent years narrowly evading the Fascists and enduring near-starvation and brutalization by German soldiers. At age 17 she returns to her native land and learns that she has inherited the nearly ruined Shropshire estate of Eagle Court. Her short-lived tranquility is disturbed by the arrival of her father's old friend, Grace Syrett, seeking refuge from London's housing shortage for herself and her young son, Dickie. While the women reach an uneasy truce, Questa falls into swoons in which she finds love with a mysterious neighbor, a young Roman named Marcus who lived in the area 20 centuries previously. She also befriends a modern neighbor, elderly, crippled Randolph Atherton, who teaches her how to farm her land. When disaster strikes, Questa manages to find the strength to surmount her troubles and embrace a new love who seems to be Marcus's legacy. Saxon paints a vivid picture of life in postwar England, its inhabitants bitterly struggling with shortages and other deprivations. Her attempt to integrate Questa's dreamworld of Roman Britain is never fully convincing, however. (May)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In 1947, 17-year-old Questa Adamson returns to England from Italy, where she has spent the war years living in hiding with relatives of her long-dead mother. Questa's father has died in combat, but she remembers his fond tales of youthful summers spent on his uncle's Shropshire estate, which Questa has inherited. Despite her halting English, malnutrition, and fear of strangers, Questa insists on living in the rundown manor and attempts to restore the farm to productivity. She is aided by neighbors and former servants who knew her father. But equally important are her mysterious dreams and visions of life in the region during the Roman occupation of Britain. Through her dreams, Questa slowly regains confidence and even develops enough trust to fall in love. The connections with the Roman era, central to certain plot developments, require a major suspension of disbelief. For romance readers comfortable with dollops of time-slip fantasy.-- Kathy Piehl, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Denise Perry Donavin
From the misery of war-torn Italy a young woman finds solace in the hills of Wales above the ravaged ancestral home that is all she has left to remind her of her father, a casualty of the First World War, and his family. Everyone tells Questa to sell the home and find an apartment, but after years of hiding and working on the land in Italy, farming comes naturally to her. On her first night alone in the house, Questa also meets family from more than 1,000 years ago, a Roman centurion as bewildered as she about how to cultivate this area. Throughout the novel, Questa time travels (in her dreams?), and she falls in love with the man from long ago. Meanwhile she spruces the old place up while suffering further setbacks from fire, death, and other disasters. Only after she falls in love in her own time does she discover the truth of her visions from the past. Questa's visits with the past just happen, as matter-of-factly as the rain falls and the garden grows in this vigorous historical fiction. Saxton's fans will rave.

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Magna Large Print Books
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Magna Large Print Ser.

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