Author Ian Mackellar falls in love with Julia Mellors, very much at first-sight when they travel together on train. He then runs across her at a party and finds herself further fascinated by her. Though she is elusive, Mackellar somehow manages to track her down and finds her running a farm and looking after her younger brother and sister, Beth and Charlie. As Charlie is not quite there (?), Julia cannot think of leaving him and settling down with somebody, much to the chagrin of Mackellar. On top of that, Mackellar finds himself attracted towards the sexually forward Beth. Repulsed by his own lascivious thoughts as well as his mounting ire against Charlie whom he sees as a hindrance in his own happiness, Mackellar is further enraged when Charlie makes a murderous attack on him. Would they be able to emerge from the whirlpool of obsessive love and jealousy?
This is a strange book. Almost every character shows obsessive behaviour: Ian in his love for Julia, Julia in her unfathomable concern for Beth and Charlie, Beth in her desire to best her sister in every way, Charlie in his hold over his two sisters. I found all of them unpleasant and couldn’t sympathise with any of them. Nonetheless, the story had me turning the pages quickly and I found the novel better than the earlier two reads of Hubbard.
First Line: I sat opposite her in a train for a couple of hours, and we neither of us said a word to each other the whole time.
Publishing Details: NY: Atheneum, 1974
First Published: 1974
Source: Open Library