Am höchsten bewertete kritische Rezension
Picturesque prose captures setting, but plot drags.
am 15. Februar 1999
Having been a Michael Phillips' fan since reading his ESCAPE TO FREEDOM, I looked forward to an idyllic country setting and the unraveling of a mystery in turn-of-the-century England as promised on the book jacket of WILD GROWS THE HEATHER IN DEVON. But the book only half satisfies. While Phillips' picturesque prose does capture the serene beauty of the Devon countryside and the manners of the period, the mystery of the hidden missive set forth in the prologue remains concealed through to the 447th and final page. The book is too long, too tedious, and the plot at times unconvincing. Charles Rutherford's conversion turns on a single encounter in London. Jocelyn accepts her birth defect as given deliberately at the hand of God, rather than as something God allowed to happen for the growth of her character. Amanda we sense from the beginning to be the prodigal. Better were the plot if she became the prodigal early on in the book with the resolution to her story coming at the end. Alas, we must await the next book in the series (or perhaps the one after that) to find out what happens to her. The build-up and lack of resolution are unfair to the reader. Despite the book's didactic tone superimposed on lengthy conversations, the author does deal with the intellectual ferment of the times: questions of Darwinism, communism, and a woman's right to vote. He also probes emotional and spiritual dilemmas as well, for he recounts Jocelyn's journey through the pain and rejection of a dysfunctional childhood to her wholehearted faith, and the burning questions and open rebellion a teenager Amanda who does not adopt her parents' faith and sees God as remote and unreal. He does not skirt these issues. When the secrets of Heathersleigh Hall will be revealed remains just that--a secret. If the reader has the patience, perhaps he will discover how Amanda's future and the hidden note will come together in a later volume. Perhaps at that time the discovery of that missive will somehow begin to pierce the cloak of independence Amanda has drawn about her. As a reader, I am not sure I have that kind of patience.