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Fragile heritage
Hylton, Sara.
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Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1990.
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Author Notes

Sara Hylton, Writer and painter Sara Hylton published her first novel, "Caprice" in 1979.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ellen Adair's despicable father makes life so unbearable for her that she runs away to Liverpool. Eventually she is taken in by an aunt who brings her to Yorkshire to work in her store. While there, lady de Bellefort notices that Ellen looks a great deal like her granddaughter Lisanne, and after a little investigation, she determines that Ellen is, indeed, the granddaughter of her husband's paramour. After Ellen becomes Lisanne's paid companion, the two girls and Lisanne's mother go to France, where they are trapped during World War II. On their way back to England after the war, their ship is blown up by a mine. Only Ellen survives, and when, during her recovery, she is mistaken for Lisanne de Bellefort, the temptation to play that role is too great to resist. Assuming the wealthy heiress' identity, Ellen opens herself to love, adventure--and an uneasy conscience. By the author of My Sister Clare [BKL Je 1 89]. ~--Cynthia Ogorek

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ellen Adair becomes friends with Kitty McGuire in a classroom in Yorkshire, where Kitty's poor Irish family suffers from the community's bigotry and Ellen is victimized by her hypercritical father, the village sexton. After they run away to Liverpool, their rocky paths diverge but will cross sporadically in later years. Kitty scrambles to become a celebrated songstress, even resorting to prostitution to support herself. Ellen returns to Yorkshire, falls into the ambit of the reigning village aristocracy, the de Bellefort family, which numbers a young female cousin, the bride-to-be of the heir, to whom Ellen bears an unusual resemblance. (The stage is thus set for revelations that will not surprise the reader.) Ellen grasps an opportunity to take charge of her life when she escapes occupied France during WW II. In her laconic, first-person narration, repeatedly turning on coincidence and contrivance, there are entertaining moments, yet neither her romances nor her achievements are convincing. Hylton wrote My Sister Clare. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A rags-to-riches romance set in England in the years surrounding World War II. Sensible Ellen Adair, who hates and fears her hypocritical father, a church sexton, runs off with her friend Kitty to Liverpool, then reluctantly goes to Yorkshire with her aunt, where she is hired by a local matriarch as a companion for her spoiled granddaughter, Lisanne. Touring Europe, Ellen, Lisanne, and Lisanne's mother are trapped in Provence for the entire war. On the voyage home, the ship sinks and only Ellen survives, to be mistaken for Lisanne and forced to marry black sheep cousin Gervase. Eventually, of course, she finds happiness with him. As in Hylton's The Hills Are Eternal ( LJ 12/86), time is disconcertingly compressed here: the French occupation seems to pass in a month. Motivations are lacking, e.g., given Ellen's character, she could easily have avoided marrying Gervase. Background details, too, are sparse. With all the elements for success (Ellen's masquerade, etc.), the plot never seems to coalesce. This is not a bad book; it just should have been better. Historical romance readers may still want it.-- A.M.B. Amantia, Population Crisis Committee Lib., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.