Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The Property of a Gentleman by Catherine Gaskin
What is good to know, (and what I think is rather special about her work) is that each book revolves on a certain topic such as antiques, falconey, whiskey making, glass making etc and she builds a detailed story/character list around that subject.
In "the property of a gentleman " the story's focus is antiques; the main character, an antique appraiser.
In a nutshell, a young woman (who works for Hardy's antiques) loses her mother in a tragic plane crash in Switzerland. To give her a change in scenery so to speak, her mentor, an older man named Gerald, invites her to go with him to the Lake District to appraise the contents of an old Tudor manor which has been cut off from the public for most if its 400 years. The owner, the 13th earl, is a man who served time in prison for the manslaughter of his wife and child and who has very little interest in antiquities except for how much champaigne they will buy. He is accompanied by his Spanish mistress, the Condesa.
What should have been a three day trip is extended to several weeks when Gerald suffers a heart attack. Joanna is placed in "the Spanish woman's room " ~ a young bride who died under very mysterious circumstances several hundred years ago and who's body has never been found...
The author paints the Lake District beautifully and I especially liked the eight Irish wolfhounds who seem to rule the manor even more than the earl. There is a 200 carat diamond accompanied by a 'curse', hidden panels, many works of art, a pair of golden eagles nesting where no eagle has produced young for 200 years, and a love interest. So lots of interest here (and I'm really just scratching the surface) .
The writer takes her time to tell a story. I'm not saying its slow (or at least, I didn't find it so) but she takes her time to lay the groundwork and build the story layer by layer which adds richness and allows you to take in and savor the details.
So did I like it? I loved it! This wont be my last Gaskin by a long shot and I really appreciate the opportunity to read for review the new e copy. Lets hope her others are also rereleased in due course!
SEX : One scene 'fade to black '
VIOLENCE : Mild
PROFANITY : Mild
PARANORMAL ELEMENTS : "phantom" wolfhound? Spanish ghost? The diamond's "curse "? These are left for the reader to believe or not.
DRUGS/DRINK: A LOT of smoking and A LOT of drinking
MY RATING : Strong PG or mild PG-13 (for sexual content)