Red Pottage by Mary Cholmondeley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Is everyone familiar with the Biblical story of Jacob & Esau?
Flighty Esau sold his birthright to younger brother Jacob for a mess (meal)of red pottage. (probably a red lentil soup or stew) Jacob doesn’t come out of that tale as a very nice person, frankly!
This is the Lentil Soup I made last week.
More like a stew really and so is this book.
After a compelling start with Hugh’s affair with the shallow Lady Newhaven & subsequently falling deeply in love with the newly wealthy Rachel, this book seems to lose track for a while. I waited impatiently for the story to get on track with (view spoiler)[ Lord Newhaven’s revenge. (hide spoiler)] But side stories were introduced. After a while the side stories for gifted author Hester and her self righteous brother and sister-in-law also became engrossing – indeed their resolution was an absolutely shattering part of the book. Around the last 40% was compelling reading. Unfortunately, on my copy anyway, Cholmondely lost her way with a feeble postscript. It was like the author couldn’t bear to have a happy ending only for (view spoiler)[ the awful Greasley husband and wife and a couple of minor characters. (hide spoiler)]
It wouldn’t have been an easy read, but I think this book would work better if it had gone for complete tragedy, but the final third was still a really good read.