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Terry, Judith.

Toronto, Macmillan, c1986. 328pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-7715-9740-1.CIP

Grade 10 and up
Reviewed by Ruth Cosstick

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

From the opening celebrations signalling the end of the Napoleonic wars, Miss Abigail's versions and diversions provide constant entertainment. Jane Austin is revived, as the pride and prejudice of the upstairs-below-stairs life of the early eight-teenth century is exposed by a perceptive ladies' maid. Jane Hartwell is the beloved grandaughter of the head gardener of a large country manor. Jane obtains a postal a neighboring estate, where she endures the indignities and insults of her station, candidly admitting. "I can serve them but I don't have to like them." Rivalry in the affairs of the heart spells the end of her domestic servitude. From then on her adventurous life gains momentum. As she escapes, she becomes involved with political activists whose bullying tactics have an all too familiar ring.

Every episode is a nugget of social comment as full of incidence and bustle as one of the London plays our heroine, now Miss Abigail of the stage, describes. The author, Professor Judith Terry of the University of Victoria, never loses control of her material. The dialogue swings along as comfortably as your great-grandmother's rocking chair. Jane philosophically comes to the conclusion that the problem of the ruling class is that the poor things just do not have enough to do.

Told in the form of a memoir, the outcome is not divulged (do not peek, it is worth the wait) unit! the final pages. This is a must for every high school library, and librarians, please do not destroy the dust jacket. It is a marvellous painting of St. James's Fair, Bristol. Highly recommended.

Ruth Cosstick, Ottawa, Ont.
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